Virat Kohli-owned restaurant chain – One8 Commune – has landed in hot waters. The controversy erupted after an LGBTQIA+ activism group called ‘Yes, We Exist’ claimed that the Pune branch of the restaurant discriminated against the community.
Taking to social media on Monday, the page alleged that the restaurant has an ‘unacceptable’ discriminatory policy towards the community, adding that its other branches also practice the same.
“@virat.kohli you are probably not aware of this, but your restaurant @one8.commune in Pune discriminates against LGBTQIA+ guests. The other branches too have a similar policy. This is unexpected and unacceptable. Hope you make necessary changes asap. @deepigoyal @zomato - either do a better job at sensitising restaurants or stop providing your platform to businesses that discriminate,” the group wrote on Instagram.
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“Often it’s the high-end restaurants that practise such discriminatory policies; the ones that you most likely get large sums of ad money from. This needs to end,” it added.
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According to The Indian Express, the Pune branch of the restaurant denied entry to gay couples or a gay group of men. It only allowed ‘cisgender heterosexual couples or groups of cisgender women’.
The reports further stated that the restaurant, however, has denied all the charges, stating that it has restriction on ‘stag entry’, that means ‘individual boys are not allowed’.
“We don’t do any discrimination on the basis of gender. We have restriction on stag entry which means individual boys are not allowed within the premises. This is only for the safety of the ladies present in the premises,” Amit Joshi, Pune branch, One8 Commune, was quoted as saying by indianexpress.com.
Following the episode, the restaurant has also issued a clarification in response to the allegations. Taking to Instagram stories, One8 Commune wrote,
“At one8 Commune, we believe in welcoming all people irrespective of their gender and/or preferences with utmost respect and honour. As our name denotes, we have always been inclusive in serving all communities since our inception.”
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“Similar to industry wide practice and in conformity with government rules, we obviously have a prohibition of stag entry. policy (subject to necessary relaxation) in place so as to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for our guests.
“That does not in any way. mean that our company policy provides any discriminatory entry rules for/against any particular community,” it added.
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