RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Representatives close to the Levar Stoney campaign have confirmed that they have moved the location of their election night party away from a local Richmond restaurant amidst concern over a new dress code.
Now, the party will take place at Wong Gonzalez, but initially, the campaign had planned on holding the event at 7 Hills Brewing Company.
“In light of recent news, we’ve decided to move the location of our election night party,” a source close to the campaign said.
The controversy arose recently when the restaurant decided to post a new dress code on its front door, which some say specifically targets African-Americans.
8News spoke with the owner of 7 Hills Brewing Company, one of the only African American owned breweries in Richmond.
Michael Abdelmagid,the owner of 7 Hills Restaurant and Brewery said he has no harsh feelings toward Stoney, but he would like to set the record straight about the code.
“It’s not a racial issue it’s just an appropriate attire issue,” said owner Michael Abdelmagid. “I think sometimes people may be looking for a story but there’s not one there.”
The code of conduct includes standard rules like “no weapons or drugs.” Then, it also includes dress code rules, like men must wear button ups and no boxers showing. It also says no timberland boots or large chains.
Online critics say the rules are racist and exclusive, but the owner says it has nothing to do with race.
“The group of us that put it together is all African-American,” said Abdelmagid. “So it’s kind of weird when we saw that race was being brought in to it versus someone saying that maybe they didn’t agree with the attire because it’s something they like to wear.”
The dress code only applies to weekend nights beginning at 10 p.m.
Abdelmagid said their goal is to bring people together a diverse crowd.
“We take pride in the way we look and we want our guests to do the same,” Abdelmagid said.
Beyond the criticism, he said they have also received a lot of support from those who are familiar with the brewery.
“Our staff is so diverse they’ve been fighting hard,” said Abdelmagid. We really embody Richmond. We are about unifying the city and not this divisiveness going on.”
Despite the last minute cancellation, 7 Hills Brewing Co. still plans on having an election day viewing party on Tuesday.
Be sure to watch 8News at 11 for more on this story.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air at 11 for the latest updates.