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Owners and brothers Ali and Hassan Davari have been hit with a civil rights lawsuit by Chloe Nicholson, who worked in their clubs from age 18 to 24, according to the Houston Chronicle. She says that while she was a top earner, two of the clubs refused to rehire her this summer due to her race.
Nicholson is seeking damages, including lost wages from the clubs. She said that she would regularly come to work ready to go, but would be turned away by the manager. “At the time, I would just take it,” she said. “I don’t feel that anybody should be treated like that—I look pretty, I smell good, I make sure I do every time. I can’t scrub my skin off.”
She also described the clubs as “a really toxic environment” where Black employees were commonly sent home. Her lawsuit covers a time period starting in 2017, and believes she has at least 20 former coworkers who experienced the same treatment.
“Every other Black girl I’ve ever danced with has experienced this,” Nicholson said. “We’ve all been through it but we just deal with it. Any really beautiful Black woman that dances if you see her at a lower-end club it’s because she can’t get in at the high-end one.”
The mother of two now oversees a nonprofit that assists women in getting medically necessary cosmetic procedures. She said she heard that the justification for these quotas had been wanting to keep the number of Black male patrons to a minimum.
“What it means to me is: ‘I matter just as much as you. I shouldn’t be less than just because of the color of my skin,’” she said. “I matter also.”