Non-black patrons of Alligator Lounge who refused to stop saying racial slurs during a karaoke night took to Yelp to defend their behavior — claiming that the n-word is no longer an offensive word but “a friendly way to refer to your friends.”
The three reviews, which have since been taken down, defended their right to use the n-word and deny any wrongdoing while at the popular Williamsburg dive bar.
“It is 2017 and and ‘nigga’ is no longer an offensive word but instead a friendly way to refer to your friends,” Julita K. wrote in her review, which is in full below along with the others.
On Tuesday night, when the karaoke’s host, Saman Boyd — a black woman who regularly hosts karaoke at the dive bar — told them to stop, she alleges that they mocked her and pointed at her while singing the word along with other songs.
Alligator Lounge pays a karaoke company to come in four nights a week, and Boyd is a regular host on Wednesday and Sunday nights. She was there on Tuesday night for a special Halloween edition when the incident happened.
“I state clearly before songs that contain the n-word that we have no n-bombs at my karaoke. If you say it, your song will get cut off, and you’re free to put another song. That’s just the rule,” Boyd says. “It’s usually not a problem. It’s a word, and it’s in songs; I get that. But for my space, I don’t want to hear you saying it. I don’t think I should have to censor the song selection for people who can’t follow the rules.”
When one of the women said the word during a Lil’ Kim song, Boyd cut her off, the host says. The group then allegedly got very heated and mocked Boyd, pointing at her while singing the n-word during later songs, she adds. That’s when she got the bouncer, who asked them to leave.
“Next time SAM [the host] should put a sign saying ‘white people have to sing white people songs, black people have to sing black people songs and Spanish people have to sing Spanish people songs’ since this place is clearly racist,’” Flo C. said on Yelp in another account of the evening.
Alligator Lounge co-manager Lisa Graziano — who did not see the incident — tells Eater that the bar supports Boyd completely in this situation.
“We have zero tolerance when it comes to what could be perceived as racism,” she says. “We stand behind her. Those were her rules in that moment, and she is a person of color, and she should not ever have to feel that people are mocking her.”
Now, Yelp is monitoring Alligator Lounge’s page after reviews started to file in about the incident from people who witnessed it, coming to Boyd’s defense.
“I LOVE this bar. I really appreciate that Sam intentionally made sure that PoC felt safe at this bar. If you’re a racist piece of shit you will rightfully be kicked out,” Marcie R. wrote.
Regarding all the Yelp activity, Boyd thinks it’s all “unnecessary.”
“I said the rule and enforced the rule and that’s it. They were kicked out because they were screaming at me and they yelled [the word] at me. At that point it’s malicious,” Boyd says. “The fact they felt the need to write three long novels about it is just so extra and unnecessary.”
Eater has not been able to reach the patrons.
Alligator Lounge has long been popular for its karaoke nights and free pizza with beer. It’s not the first establishment to have contentious situations taken to Yelp: A Park Slope coffee shop went through a similar situation earlier this year for a sign on its bathroom door that depicts a man peering into the woman’s bathroom — with locals taking to Yelp saying that it promoted sexual harassment.