By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — A post to Twitter claiming a manager at Sky Lounge Restaurant & Cafe, 13209 W. Warren Ave., made racial remarks has gone viral and promoted a response by the cafe’s owner.
On June 25, former waitress Dana Alserjani posted a letter she wrote to lounge owner Ayman Taleb where she informed him she was quitting without a two-week notice as a result of the “blatant racism.” She was hired in April.
Her letter claimed that a former student of hers entered the business to celebrate his mother’s birthday with his family and when Alserjani shared that the student was the top of his class and a brilliant student, a manager responded with, “I don’t believe you.”
The manager continued to say, “A black kid will never be more than a drug dealer,” Alserjani said.
Alserjani also said the manager was hesitant to do the lounge’s traditional birthday celebration for the table.
Alserjani said the manager added, “They don’t matter,” when referencing the family, and also said, “I wonder why we don’t just make a sign that says ‘blacks and Indians aren’t welcome.”
According to Alserjani’s letter, the discourse was not limited to that family, but is a representation of the extent to which racism is deeply normalized in the culture at Sky Lounge.
“This is the type of language that dehumanizes our black bothers and sisters — that costs them as much as their lives,” Alserjani wrote.
At the end of her letter she said, “Black lives do not come with a price tag and I could not possibly spend another day around the blatant racism in this place. Do better. God is watching.”
On her Twitter page, Alserjani posted a photo showing the rules at the lounge which had No. 30 that read, “Gratuities are allowed on parties of four and above. (S.I.A.).”
In the video also posted on her Twitter account, Alserjani secretly recorded a different manager saying, “If there is Saudi Arabian, Indians or blacks you can grab it (gratuities) automatically. “I personally hate that (expletive) to be honest with you.”
In response to the letter and social media post, Taleb wrote a statement on the lounge’s Facebook page on June 25 addressing the comments made.
“The entire Sky Lounge staff is deeply concerned about the unacceptable, inexcusable, and shameful remarks made by two employees,” he wrote. “We were gathering as much information about this incident in order to take proper and necessary action. After looking into this matter and with most recent information we now will take the necessary action.
Taleb continued to say that any employee who thinks about discriminating against customers or co-workers will be terminated immediately.
“We would like to make it clear that Sky Lounge does not tolerate any discrimination, stereotype or racism,” he wrote. “The actions of the employees defy our core values and everything we stand for. Sky Lounge works as a family and treat our customers as a family.”
Also in the post, Taleb added that Sky Lounge appreciates the community.
“We appreciate the community shedding light on this very serious matter for we strive to have the most welcoming and friendly environment for all and will do whatever it takes to bring that,” he wrote.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)