Dallas restaurateur apologizes for telling twerking women to 'get the f— out,' claims context misunderstood

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Party’s over?

A Dallas restaurateur has apologized for using harsh language to ask a group of customers to leave the establishment for twerking, but maintains that their behavior is unacceptable and disrespectful in his new venue after a quick clip of the showdown went viral.

Kevin Kelley opened True Kitchen + Kocktails in downtown Dallas in August, proudly touting the space as a Black-owned business celebrating “black excellence” within the community, according to a statement.  

WARNING: Video contains profanity

Things got heated over the weekend, however, when Kelley scolded some women for twerking in True Kitchen's dining room after allegedly – and repeatedly – being asked to stop. The Dallas Morning News reports that the incident occurred on Sunday night, and footage of Kelley addressing his guests has been viewed 3.7 million times as of Tuesday morning.

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“I invested a lot of money into buying this building and developing this concept so Black people can have somewhere nice to go to, OK? Somewhere where our people can feel good about ourselves as a culture,” Kelley told the room, following the twerking trouble.

“But all this twerking and s—, take it to Pryme, take it to Pink [two clubs in Dallas], don’t bring it here, because we’re a restaurant,” he said. “Beyond that, 75% of our customers are ladies. And I want men to show respect for how they carry themselves here. How can I tell the men to respect themselves when you guys are twerking on glass, here?”

“You want to do it? Get the f— out of my restaurant,” Kelley added. “If you don't like it, get out, because I don't need your money. I need to provide something for my people. Don't do it again. Thank you.”

The Twitter user who posted the video captioned the clip “Restaurant SUICIDE on camera,” although Kelley’s impassioned appeal has been met with mixed reactions. Some applauded Kelley for defending his vision for the restaurant; others criticized him for playing club music in True Kitchen's dining room, if such dancing is indeed a problem, and for calling out the twerking customers in a larger setting.

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On Monday, Kelley posted an extensive apology across True Kitchen's social media channels, saying he was sorry for his "poor choice of wording" and sharing more about his side of the story.

In the statement, Kelley claimed that the twerking customers had been asked to stop multiple times and risked injury by dancing on furniture, which prompted the serious speech. As for the soundtrack to the saga, Kelley said the restaurant planned to adjust its music selections in the future – with a disclaimer.

“Regardless of what had or will be played, no guest had the right to come into our business ‘home’ and stand on our furniture because of any song played,” he argued. “As for the twerking being a part of our culture, we do not welcome the part of the culture that will come into a restaurant, stand on furniture and twerk while using ‘culture’ as an excuse. Would you accept this for your home?”

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“From the outset we knew TRUE Kitchen + Kocktails would not be for everyone but we hoped everyone would understand we are moving with a cause to give a diverse group of customers comfort food in a way never presented in Dallas,” Kelley said. “We are moving with a cause to show other minority entrepreneurs they can own their building, own their restaurant and they can be successful growing their own brand. There is nothing that will deter my team from this cause.”

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