L’Avenue, famous French restaurant has a system to keep out people with Arabic-sounding names

L’Avenue, a Paris restaurant popular with celebrities, has a system in place to keep out people with Arabic-sounding names and women in headscarves, an investigation by BuzzFeed News in France shows.
BuzzFeed News spoke with four servers who worked at L’Avenue for several years, one until very recently. The four former employees claim that their management routinely instructed them not to make reservations for people with names “of Arab origin” or tourists from the Middle East, especially those from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
The four former staffers, all women, also claimed that if a veiled woman showed up to the restaurant, they had to be told that the restaurant was full, even if it was not, a system they say is still in place today.
“The restaurant’s director, Alexandre Denis, often says he prefers to have two blonde people, beautiful, on the terrace, with two coffees, rather than veiled women, even if they are rich,” one woman, who worked in the restaurant for more than 10 years, told BuzzFeed News. “Those, we had to refuse, and every time a hostess took a reservation of a customer with an Arabic name, he asked who had made this reservation and reminded the staffers of their instructions: to refuse them as much as possible by pretending that the restaurant is full.”
She and the three other women who spoke with BuzzFeed News asked that their names not be printed to avoid backlash from coming forward.
If a veiled client who booked a table on the phone or online approached the hostess on duty, the instructions were to deny that the reservation was ever recorded, one woman, who was a manager at L’Avenue, told BuzzFeed News.
That same standard went even for women who booked through whatever upscale hotel they were staying in, the first former server said.
If a customer insisted on being seated, they were forced to take a table upstairs, tucked out of sight and away from the glamorous visage that the restaurant was trying to cultivate.
Denis, when reached by BuzzFeed News, denied the accusations. “All cultures, all nationalities come here. There are people from the Middle East, there is everything you want,” he said. “If you want to denounce us as racist people, that’s… We’ll manage as much as we can, but that’s not it. … I can say something, but I do not know how the chicks [sic] will interpret it. … What is certain is that I never gave instructions to refuse customers.”
Source: BuzzFeed

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