Temple Bar Incident - Flagrant racism or a blip

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Posted by Brinkmann-Zhang Ga on January 17, 1998 at 19:40:29:

Temple Bar Incident - Flagrant racism or a blip

Below are the letters and email exchanges between the owner of Temple
Bar- a cocktail lounge in New York City and the author.

To author's opinion, it is a blatant racist case. I would invite you all
to give feedback on this issue before I pursue further action.

Brinkmann-Zhang Ga


My letter to the Temple Bar

Dear Management, January 10 1998

I am writing to you in regard to the intolerable behavior of two of your
staff members last night, the host on duty Jan. 9 1998 and a male
waiter. I believe that such doings would seriously damage the image of
your establishment if it not be given immediate attention and handled
accordingly from upper management.

I was with two lady friends of mine at your bar around 11:30 PM last
night . We requested to seat. After waiting for over an hour(while the
host had told us it would be only 10-20 minutes wait), we were to be
seated, the host presented a
harsh attitude at that moment, therefore I asked to talk to the manager
to complain about the inadequate behavior of the host. The manager was
very reasonable and understanding, he also offered us a round of free
drinks as a good will.

It was then late, strange things started to happen: first, we were
given the check before we asked for it, and we were overcharged for some
$30 more, after we paid check with correction, the male waiter started
to harass my friend verbally, humiliating her with intimate questions.
She, of course reacted emotionally. The host then came by and said that
this was a English speaking place, that we should leave, and started to
take away our unfinished drinks. We were completely startled that such
insults and rudeness could actually happen in a refined envirovment like
this, and insisted to stay based on principle. And to my most shock, the
male waiter even dared to use force to push one of the ladies out of her
chair and in turn the host viciously called police to frame us that we
were causing trouble.

I myself am an art educator teaching at Parsons, SVA, and Pratt, as well
as a co-producer of a popular website "THE THING.net" within the NY
art community, THE THING is also affiliated with major media network and
many European Online content providers.

I have never in my life encountered such an incident.

What I have described above, go beyond the sheer likeness or dislikeness
between hosts and the guests. In addition to personal insult, physical
harshness and psychological disturb, which violates the very basic
entrepreneurial spirit, it is a unacceptable racial remark that I must
bring to your attention and even to more public, to prevent such things
from happening.

Therefore I, also on behalf of the other two friends of mine, demand
that the two persons involved: the male host and the male waiter(they
were the only two male staff in the lounge area, should be easy to
identify) apologize to us, especially to the ladies who suffered in more
drastic way from this incident, in writing, so that they will learn the
fact that New York does not tolerate such tendency.

I hope that this letter has addressed the seriousness of the matter, and
author's determination to call media's attention if such activity not
dealt with promptly. I believe that your management is sound and cares
about the long- standing fine image in the city, and that you have the
ability to shape your staff to meet the reputation you deserve.

Sincerely Yours,

Brinkmann-Zhang Ga

PS. The written apology can be sent via fax: 212 242 7569 or email:


Response from Temple Bar:

Subject: Your letter of 1/10/98 to Temple Bar
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 17:17:48 -0500
From: George Schwarz
Organization: KKF
To: Zhang@escape.com

Dear Mr. Brinkmann-Zhang,

Your letter of complaint to Temple Bar was totally inappropriate. Your
party was obviously inebriated when it came to Temple Bar, at least I
hope so, otherwise its behavior would have been even more inexcusable.

One of the ladies in your company was apparently unable to use any
English vocabulary beyond, "Fuck." Her opening remark to the waiter
was: "You don't know how to fuck." Even if she had been clairvoyant or
had personal reasons for making the statement, the remark was as
inappropriate as the 23 further "fuck"s expressed by your party.

I am truly surprised that given your credentials as an educator you were
not able to control the public behavior of your group. That group
apparently took offense at being told of Temple Bar's rule of a one
drink minimum, it was offended at having to wait for a table, and one of
your ladies hauled off and punched our waiter because, being totally
inebriated, she believed he was pointing at her rather than showing
other customers to a nearby table.

Our staff is trained and accredited in dealing with inebriated
customers and it is a rule that they clear the table under conditions of
exaggerated misbehavior. Your comments about racial remarks are
unfounded; perhaps you did not notice that customers sitting nearby were
Asian and that a good part of our own staff is Asian. Anyone can make
accusations, but these only carry weight if they are truthful. It is a
rare occasion indeed when our staff has to call the Police Department -
it serves to underscore the uniqueness of your group's behavior.

Please, Mr. Brinkmann-Zhang, don't threaten me with such things as
"calling the media's attention," etc. Consult with your attorney
instead; you'll find out what my response to such a threat would be. I
have nothing against you personally. I was glad to find out that you are
a customer of long-standing, and if your behavior remains as it was
before this incident, I have no intention of denying you access to
Temple Bar in the future.

I am glad to hear that you are co-producing "THE THING.net". Like you,
we are closely connected to the art community and, being European
myself, I am delighted that you have many European Online content
providers. I suppose that this is one of the reasons you appreciate the
European atmosphere at Temple Bar.

My best wishes for the New Year.

George Schwarz


My response to the Temple Bar:

Dear Mr. George Schwarz,

Thank you for your response.

It is apparent that you have one side of the story, and if one is
insightful, it should not be difficult to discern the truth in the
obvious distortion.

First of all, I would be very cautious to call somebody inebriate when
the fact is that the accused had not have a sip of alcohol before coming
to the Temple Bar. Second, given how unreasonable one can be, it must be
simply impossible to start commenting somebody with phrases like "You
don't know how to fuck" as you quoted, just be a bit analytic and little
comman sense, you will find there is a reason to all these coarse
exchange of language.

I do not deny that there was vulgar vocabulary used in this abusive
circumstances, and which could have been avoided if the the victim had
other means to defend herself. I am personally not appreciative of such
rough language, and not defensive of the lady in my party as far as this
is concerned, I believed that the situation could have been controlled
if she was not so humiliated in public by your staff.

Let me repeat the incident from the beginning one more time: It is true
that I was offended when the host told me the one drink police
expressively in a haughty tone, after waiting for over an hour, and
clearly our drinks had almost finished, in addition to the fact that I
was never reminded before, of a one drink minimum in my many experiences

with Temple Bar, - or at least keep this rule of reminding each
customer who is admitted to the lounge area in a consistent manner, and
in a friendly way - otherwise I would not have asked for the manager.
This episode ended peacefully, and as I mentioned, I really appreciated
the manager's professionalism. We had our drinks and our small food.

It was also uncomprehensive to me why all these happened later on, my
presumption is that the host might be reprimanded by the manager
because of my complaint in the first place, and that he had been seeking
revenge to some degree at his convenience.

I don't understand why we were given the bill before we asked for it,
was it a plotted conspiracy to provoke us? if so, we did nothing except
making sure that we did not pay the overcharged amount. It all started
after we paid the bill, the male waiter who sat across from our table
chatting with his friends, pointedly making comments on the lady in my
party who happened to pay the bill, with remarks like: she was rich and
stupit and where is her boy friend etc.-according to what I was told,
and they were laughing heartily.
That was why the lady in my part got irritated and started to fight
back, the words were coarse and I did tried to stop her,but Iwould
forgive her for her hopeless defense. And Please don't forget that we
are all human beings and emotional abuse could generate corresponding

It could be interpreted, what happened till now, some excitement
commenly seen in a bar.

I would have not made this such a issue if it were not the deliberately
clearly stated sentence by the host, right in my face that "This is a
English speaking place, English", he pointed to his face emphsizingly,
"You don't belong here, and better leave", all done in a charming, and
smiling way.

If the former arrogance only subtlety signals a hint of racist attitude,
then this was blatantly ostentatious declaration of discrimination.
This is not only offensive to me and the party I was with, but also
direcly challenges the Constitution of United Sates.

And I cannot undermine the seriousness of such matter.
It may take only one person, in a given circumstance, to unveil a evil,
hidden and suppressed hatred. And that was explicitly the reason that I
wrote you the letter to cause your vigilance and with the hope that you,
as upper management would give immediate attention and correction. The
fact that I wrote you the letter best shows my faith in your management.

Unfortunately, you seemed to succumbed to the one-sided story of your
party and condemned us instead.
I have no intention to threaten you, and neither did I hold the Temple
Bar as a whole responsible for this incident, but if fairness cannot be
found and if the manegement intentioanlly protects this sort of
behavior, it only shows that you're either acknowledging such racist
behavior or inept to handle the situation, then I will have to resort to
public opinion, even legal procedure if it is necessary. All I care is
fairness and one thing that I strongly believe that there is no room for
racism, because I have students from all racial background and from all
over the world.
Racial harmony has to be cultivated and protected.
I hope my above description could lead you into thorough investigation.
And likewise, I will also look into more details of my party. And I
still believe as the truth unfolds itself, you will take the right

Thank you for your cooperation.


Brinkmann-Zhang Ga

PS. The lady did punch the waitor after she was focefully pushed out
off the chair. and the police did come and wanted to escort us back to
Bar, we thankfully declined their offer. And the staff were so feared
that they had to locked the door when the police came, but they were the
ones to call the police, why didn't they dare to come out and reason? it

was more than just being shy, I guess.



Response from the Temple Bar

Dear Mr. Brinkmann-Zhang,

Thanks for your note, but we don't need tofurther involve the
Consitution of the United States to straighten out an issue
which is basically a blip on the face of the earth.

You may perhaps not have had anything to drink in the sit-down area
before ordering your first drink, but you did order drinks during the
waiting period at the bar. Otherwise, your group would certainly never
have behaved in the way that it did, screaming "Fuck" 23 times, cursing,
saying very ugly things, punching and slugging the waiter, accusing the
waiter of sexual malfunction, etc., - and that by ladies who were in
your company. As I said, I can believe such behavior occurring in a
group with a relatively high blood alcohol level, but nor in a group of
educated, art-connected young people who are allegedly sober. So it's
better to admit to some drinking which, while it does not excuse ugly
words, would shed some kinder light on them. In my own use vocabulary
such words are non-existent; they tend to degrade the person who utters
them, and since they are usually applied indiscriminately, they have
lost all
linguistic meaning. They now only connote vulagarity on the part of the
speaker. Perhaps you will agree to join me in
attempting to eliminate them.

So we have two completely disparate stories. Which am I to believe? I
have worked with my staff for nearly nine years over which they have
respectfully and professionally served over 450,000 customers. Each one
of them has been specifically trained in a national T.I.P.S. course, in
which psychologists and physicians teach them how to deal with customers
who are drinking. They are all certified after a rigorous examination.
During the nine years that we are open, our staff have called the Police
Department less than a handul of times. Their having to call the Police
in your case does speak some for the extraordinary behavior of your
group. Furthermore, our staff works at Temple Bar for the sole purpose
of earning their living, and they rely greatly on tips toward that end.
That makes it very unlikely that their primary purpose is to harrass or
be rude to customers because that would be counterproductive to their
goals. So I tend to believe the version of my staff more than your
group's - although I can certainly sympathise with you if any
misunderstandings arose during your conversations
with our staff. As I said, the issue of discrimination is non-existent
and I need not address it further.

I hope this clears up the issue to your satisfaction and I wish you a
Happy and Successful New Year, particularly with

George Schwarz.

My response to Temple Bar

Dear Mr. George Schwarz,

Thank you for your response.

Rather contrary to your understanding, it is solely because the racist
remark that has forced me to demand the apology specifically from these
two people who, I believe, not only have spoiled your reputation, but
also degraded themselves to ignorance and stupidity.

I will post all these email exchange to the broad public over the
internet to let people place judgment over this incident.


Brinkmann-Zhang Ga


Response from Temple Bar

Dear Mr. Brinkmann-Zhang,

If you wish to post our email exchange on the Internet, kindly inform me
of where you'll post it because the Temple Bar
staff will be very interested in reading it.

Since you are a man of high integrity and moral standards, I hope that
you will publish the entire exchange in its full,
unaltered and unabbreviated form.

I do have a bit of further news: the bartender on duty when your group
arrived reported (albeit belatedly) that your group
ordered drinks at the bar prior to entering the lounge and that you
became incensed upon being told that there was a
one-drink minimum in the lounge area. When I wrote you that your group
was probably inebriated, I was perhaps not that
far off the mark.

Perhaps you felt that our one-drink minimum rule justified your group's
cursing and your lady friend's subsequent
accusation to the waiter: "You don't know how to fuck!". Frankly
speaking, that was not a very nice thing to say.
Furthermore, it was an unkind statement which begged for a personal
follow-up. An elegant lady would have followed that
remark with " That being so, I'll show you how".

Kind regards,



My response to the Temple Bar:

Dear Mr. George Schwarz,

You seem to deliberately avoid the real point of this issue by
repeatedly emphasizing the drinks and cursive language
occurred in this incident, not only permits the distortion, reversing
the cause and result at the superficial level, but also participating in
deepen the distortion. There are too different things as you also know
it deep in your heart. Please consult your attorney about the nature of
that sentence, and learn a bit more about the Civil Rights Law if you
and your beloved staff did not , really know what you're doing.

You will be informed.


Brinkmann-Zhang Ga


Response from the Temple Bar

Subject: more facts, 23 fucks
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 14:33:47 -0500
From: George Schwarz
Organization: KKF
To: zhang@escape.com

Dear Mr. Brinkmann-Zhang,

I just reviewed our exchange of email and have another comment to add:

I had corresponded with you in the belief that this was a private
exchange between us. You, however, without seeking my approval,
apparently decided a priori to publish our exchange on the Internet. Of
course, you have the right to do so. I can assure you, however, had I
intended to publish your
letters on the Internet, I would have sought your prior approval or
communicated my own a priori intention. I was simply surprised, given
your standing as an educator, web publisher, and a person of high moral

Do not be put off by this - you have my blessing to publish our entire
exchange without omissions. You would only be in trouble if you altered
anything in, or deleted anything from, our exchange.

With specific reference to your perception of racism in the host's
remark of "this is an English-speaking place", I can offer this very
simple explanation: the host does not speak Chinese. If your party makes
obvious fun of him or the staff in that language, it appears most
appropriate for the host to remind the insulting guest that English is
usually spoken at
Temple Bar. If you believed that your party had an unlimited right to
insult the staff because you felt offended by a one-drink minimum, then
I believe that you are clearly in the wrong. Paying for a one-drink
minimum allows you
to purchase one drink; it does not allow you the additional right to
insult anyone, to curse or to misbehave. That would be an unfortunate
misperception indeed, if anyone in your group believed that. The
one-drink minimum applies
usually only on weekends. But that is not the issue - your group's
behavior was.

As far as you lady friend's complaint of "You don't know how to fuck"
is concerned, that remains somewhat of an enigma to me. How could she
come to make such a remark? Did she have a basis in personal experience
with that
waiter to make such a categorical assessment? If so, was it necessary
for her to inform him of her dissatisfaction in public? Or did she hear
from a friend that he didn't know how to fuck? In that case, wouldn't it
have been
kinder of her to take him aside, to discuss his alleged deficiency in
private, perhaps even to offer him some private lessons at nominal cost?
Or perhaps she overheard and completely misinterpreted a remark made by
a good
friend of the waiter who had actually said "Wow, he certainly knows how
to fuck!". That appears to be a more likely probability because no other
customer has ever complained of this waiter's performance in your
particular way. Another explanation could be that your lady friend
simply did not appreciate the uniqueness or vigorousness of our waiter's
sexual performance. In any case, if the lady was sexually disappointed,
I am truly sorry that she felt that way and I hereby apologize - in
writing, as you
requested - on behalf of the entire staff. We will make it up to her at
a time of her choosing and Temple Bar will also invite her to a free
drink to commiserate with her at any time.

Now, about the matter of the 23 additional "fuck" curses from your
group, would you like to send me one apology which covers all 23 fucks
or would you rather send me 23 separate apologies, one for each
utterance. I think that it's simpler to have one apology which covers
all 23, but it's your choice.
Either one would be appropriate.

I hope this finds you in good health and good spirits.

Please do not fail to notify me where you will publish our email




My response to the Temple Bar:

Dear Mr. George Schwarz,

I want to remind you that do not find it entertaining to further
ridicule the situition, and remember that everthing that you said is
written in black and white.
Please trust my capablity to handle this matter in the proper and
necessary way.

I think further discussion will be infertile.


Brinkmann-Zhang Ga

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