Racist pub bans Arabs, Islanders

Racist pub ... Benji Tupou says he was 'belittled' by staff at Scruffy Murphy's

Exclusive by Shoba Rao

May 03, 2007 12:00
Article from: The Daily Telegraph

SECURITY staff at one of Sydney's most popular pubs were ordered to refuse entry to patrons of particular ethnic backgrounds in a racist exclusion policy designed to cut crime.

The owner of Scruffy Murphy's Irish pub in the CBD admitted yesterday he had implemented a policy in 2005 denying entry to patrons of Middle Eastern and Pacific Islander origin.

Malcolm McGuinness told the NSW Equal Opportunity Tribunal the exclusion edict was introduced after police threatened to impose sanctions on his hotel after a series of incidents.

The publican and T&B Security Services director Tibi Brandusoiu are being sued by two would-be patrons of Pacific Islander origin for damages for racial discrimination.

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Mr McGuinness said the exclusion policy – introduced in November 2005 and scrapped early last year – was designed to prevent problems "related to gangs" and in "my viewpoint it was not discriminating".

"Once we implemented this policy, assaults were reduced," he said.

Samoan Benji Tupou, 31, of Maroubra, told the tribunal he was twice refused entry to Scruffy Murphy's in 2005 because of his ethnic background.

Mr Tupou alleged that on the first occasion, he was pulled out of a queue by a Polynesian security guard who told him: "Yep, no Islanders."

Five months later he tried again. This time he was approached by a member of the security staff who asked: "What nationality are you?"

When Mr Tupou replied: "I'm Samoan or Niuean", the bouncer replied: "Seriously boys, I don't know how to say this, but you guys can't come in to the hotel."

Asked why, the doorman exclaimed: "No Islanders or Lebanese."

Mr Tupou said he had been humiliated by the refusal. "It was belittling to be treated in this way. I was angry about how I was treated," he said.

Also giving evidence yesterday was Marcellus Cook, a New Zealand Maori, who claimed he was refused entry.

Lawyer David Hillard, representing both men, told the tribunal the hotel had made an "uncontested concession" that it breached the Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing entry to Mr Cook at a time when the exclusion policy was in place.

Bryce Cross, counsel for Scruffy Murphy's, told the tribunal that, in Mr Cook's case only, the hotel conceded breaching the Act.

"We have been consistent in the concession that persons not known to staff of Middle Eastern and Pacific Islander appearance were not allowed in to the hotel," he said.

The hearing continues.

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