Last night, at Brick’s, Thurayya Zreik stopped by to say hello to a friend of hers, who was already with a group of friends. As she was having a conversation with her friend, one of the guys at the table started verbally harassing her, to which she emphatically and repeatedly told him to stop. He is angered, threatens to slap her, and throws a LIT cigarette in her face. The management only interfered when Thurayya had him in a chokehold, and told him to take a walk around the block to calm down. After which they let him back in. You can read a more detailed description of the incident, in Thurayya’s words, here.
The way Brick’s handled this incident gravely disappointed me, as it’s my favorite bar in the neighborhood, and I regularly go there for happy hour. I expected better from the staff there. Trying to pin the blame on the victim by telling her she would have found the guy amusing if she wasn’t already in a bad mood is so fucking condescending and disrespectful. Letting him back inside and expecting Thurayya to accept his lame-ass apology for his behavior is inappropriate.
Their response to the incident was even worse. You can read it by clicking on this. They mention that as an establishment, they are staunchly opposed to the harassment and abuse of women, yet they claim that it was not their responsibility to interfere in disputes between customers or friends. Excuse me?! When something like that happens on your premises, it is absolutely necessary that you engage. Right away.
I don’t care how tired you are or how long your day has been. It is a responsibility of yours to ensure that your customers feel safe in your establishment. You don’t wait until a woman defends herself by managing to put her attacker in a choke-hold (because what if she couldn’t defend herself?!). You jump in when he throws a fucking lit cigarette in her face. And you don’t let him back in. Not that night, not ever. That is, if you’re committed to making sure your customers enjoy their time on your premises, as you said. And not just the customers with penises.
I am very disappointed with the way you handled things, and I also find reprehensible the lack of involvement from other customers and Thurayya’s friend herself. I usually walk past Brick’s on my way home from work or the gym, and yesterday I was heading home around that time. Except I took a different route. Only know I wish I hadn’t.
I will now be boycotting Brick’s until their response to this incident, or any other one, for that matter, changes. Their policy as to how they deal with situations like this one needs to be reconsidered. Until they admit that yes, they have no control over how customers engage with one another, but that they can control how they respond, and that their response to this incident was absolutely shitty.
I ask anyone who goes to Brick’s, especially those who are regulars, to join in this boycott.