A Kentucky restauranteur has refused to serve O.J. Simpson because, says he, he doesn’t like the way O.J. conducts his life, torments the families of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, and he didn’t like the way someone in his restaurant went up to Simpson all giddy, like, “Ohhhh, I can’t believe I’m seeing you, O.J.!” Something along those lines.
O.J. was there with 12 or so folks. He left quietly, saying he understood. His attorney says it was about racism and has threatened to sue.
Here’s what I think. I never assume any white, privileged, affluent heterosexual man — which the restaurant owner, Jeff Ruby is — is any friend to me or to women. I have to have evidence, I have to have proof, that any man, but especially het, rich, white men, are my allies, and even when I have evidence, I reserve judgment. Time will tell. I watch.
So, I’m not impressed with posturing like this, on the part of a well-to-do white guy who may have simply discovered a useful and handy excuse to be a racist asshole. Would he tell, for example, George Bush, who is directly responsible for the murders of thousands of people, including women and children, and hence the torment of all of their families and loved ones, that he wasn’t going to serve George Bush? Dick Cheney? Would he turn away David Duke?
Would he turn away guys like Larry Flynt, Hugh Hefner, or any number of male pornographers I can think of who are indirectly, and possibly directly, responsible for the deaths of women, and who are certainly responsible for the torture and torment of millions of women nationally and internationally? Hell no, he wouldn’t do that, not in a million years. Would he get all upset if women in his restaurant sidled breathlessly up to Flynt or Hefner with the cootchy-coos and the requests for autographs and would he say to Flynt or Hefner, “I don’t want you in here. I’m not serving you.”
Hell no, he wouldn’t do that.
Anybody who operated an upscale steakhouse restaurant in Kentucky with that level of ethics and integrity and commitment to women would be out of business yesterday.
So I’m not at all impressed with the acts of this guy.
If I had an upscale restaurant somewhere, would I serve O.J. Simpson if he walked in? Hell no. Then again, I’d refuse to serve any man in a restaurant I operated, unless I knew for sure he was devoting his time, energy, and money to ending the murder, battering, rape, trafficking, prostituting and abuse of women and girls. That number of men would certainly be small enough that operating a woman-only restaurant would probably be my choice.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s bullshit like what this appears to be: white, het, sexist, racist, patriarchal masculinity making itself the chivalrous good guy.
Spare me this kind of “defense” and “protection.” If you really cared about Nicole Simpson, about what her murder did to her sisters, her mother, her children, and to all of us, as women, if you cared about the way it hurt us all and affected us all, if you gave a good goddamn about women, period, you’d have made a name for yourself a long time ago for the many folks you’d have turned away from your restaurant, the one’s I’ve already mentioned and all the men like them who have centered their lives around the abuse and tormenting of women. My hunch is, all this incident was was your golden opportunity to refuse service to a black man who was famous, handsome, athletic, rich, who married a beautiful blonde white women and who got away with all kinds of murder, privileges which are supposed to be reserved for white guys like yourself. My hunch is this was your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get away with something yourself — something like racism — and to make yourself some kind of hero in the process, at least to other racists.
Fuck that noise.