A (now) former freelance promoter for Hollywood club The Argyle was accused of wide-ranging discrimination this week. The promoter is said to have sent a text message to a potential client, instructing the man that his guests fit only a narrow demographic, and that they could not be “hood black or fat.”
Fox 11 reports that customer Fatell Baldonado was planning a birthday party at the Argyle, and was texting with third-party club promoter Sharif Hasan about his group. Hasan is a promoter for a number of Hollywood clubs, a common role that acts as intermediary between the venue and the public at large. Promoters are seen as gatekeepers for a particular club and crowd, offering tables, bottle service, or other perks to in-demand groups and otherwise curating the guest list at large.
In text messages seen by Fox 11 the conversation between the pair seemed to start out pleasantly enough, with Hasan offering bottle service and special treatment for Baldonado’s large group. Hasan then reportedly asked for intel on the people that would be in attendance, texting: “If you [have] any of their [Instagram] or pics send cuz they’re strict [at] the door.” He then added: “Gotta be 8/10 no hood black or fat.”
Baldonado showed up with his group that same night, with Hasan allegedly telling him that Derick Jackson — an African-American man in Baldonado’s party — was not going to be allowed inside. Some of Baldonado’s friends were able to make it in, but eventually everyone left in protest after learning about Jackson’s exclusion.
Hasan maintains that he was following the Argyle’s door policy, which he claims is similar to other Hollywood clubs, and admitted to Fox 11 that the behavior was discriminatory. Hasan also accused Baldonado’s group of arriving late, and with a different group makeup than discussed.
The Argyle, which has been open since 2014, disavowed Hasan’s actions in a statement:
“That individual does not work for The Argyle. Our policies are completely inclusive of all individuals. We will occasionally deny entrance due to dress codes that are based on a common industry wide policy. Every one of our evenings are completely diverse. The words used are highly offensive and I can assure you they do not represent our culture or organization.”
That said, when reviewing the Argyle’s two-star Yelp page, the club has a number of poor reviews dating back to the club’s early days that outright mention or suggest racial discrimination:
Baldonado and Jackson have said that they refuse to return to The Argyle. Hasan is no longer working as a promoter with the club.
1600 Argyle Avenue
Los Angeles, CA