Man says he was discriminated against at casino for bringing a purse


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KARK) —An Arkansas man is hoping for a policy change at a casino after he says he was discriminated against at the door.

Jordan Kirk says a security guard and supervisor at Oaklawn Casino told him he needed to take his bag back to the car before coming inside despite multiple women carrying similar bags.

Kirk says when he asked them why, he was told it’s because “men don’t wear purses.”

“It is a double standard. If you’re going to allow it for one person, you’ve got to allow it for everybody,” said Kirk.

Kirk said he and his husband were waiting in line to get in the casino Friday night when the argument with security began.

“I was like, ‘Well, she is taking her purse inside,’ and the lady behind us was like, ‘Do I need to take my bag to the car?’ and he was like, ‘No, purses are allowed,'” Kirk recalled.

Kirk said a supervisor was then called and informed the couple it is their policy not to allow bags inside of any kind.

“I asked him if a woman was carrying my bag could she take it in the door, and he told me yes — but because I wasn’t (a woman), I couldn’t take it inside,” said Kirk.

He said a manager finally allowed the bag inside only after searching it for explosives.

“Almost every woman that was behind us was like, “Why aren’t you searching our bag?’ The woman behind us was like, ‘That’s discriminating,” Kirk said.

While Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort did not directly address Kirk’s concern, but it said in the following statement:

First and foremost, anyone and everyone over the age of 21 are welcome at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort as long as they adhere to our security requests and guidelines, as well as our COVID-19 precautions and have a valid ID. Safety is and always has been one of our top priorities at Oaklawn – for both our guests and our team members.
In keeping with our policy and commitment to provide the highest level of safety precautions, our personnel reserve the right to inspect incoming bags, backpacks, satchels, etc. regardless of form or size. It is essential we reserve this right in light of Oaklawn being a large public venue.

We’ve appropriately addressed Mr. Kirk’s incident with the team members who were involved along with their supervisors. As an important point of clarification, the General Manager of Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort was not present during this incident but our regularly scheduled security team and casino floor manager were there and did permit Mr Kirk to enter the facility with his bag.
Finally, Oaklawn would like to apologize for any inconvenience this incident may have caused Mr. Kirk.

“You can’t say a man can’t carry his bag inside but then a woman can carry a bag in. It’s just not right,” said Kirk.

A spokesperson for the resort said the business has apologized to Kirk for the incident multiple times.

Kirk said he received a Facebook message from the vice president of marketing at the resort reading: “On behalf of Oaklawn, I’d like to apologize for the incident and inconvenience last night. The situation has been addressed with our team members. Thank you.”

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