Cruse banned from XY Bar in Wichita after altercation between bartenders


Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacey Cruse has been banned from Old Town Bar XY after clashing with a bartender on Saturday.

The Wichita Eagle

Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacey Cruse was banned from an Old Town bar and nightclub on Saturday after calling a bartender a name the bartender called racist and which Cruse said was misunderstood in the noisy bar.

Chad Porter, co-owner of XY Bar, a popular gay bar and dance club near Second and Rock Island, said he doesn’t believe Cruse’s explanation and this is the third time she’s been kicked out of its establishment, a charge Cruise denies but the general manager of XY says that is correct.

“I have a line,” Porter said. “And she walked through it.”

Cruse said she went to XY with her boyfriend, Gary Greene, after having a few booze at a HumanKind Ministries humanitarian awards ceremony at Distillery 244, a nearby Old Town location.

After Cruse ordered her first booze at XY Bar, she asked the bartender for her name. When the bartender refused to give his name, Cruse decided to give him a nickname.

Depending on who is telling the story, the nickname was either racist or “geeky, nerdy, and dumb.”

The bartender, who is African American, explained in a social media post that Cruse said, “Well, I’ll just call you Shaquetta.”

Porter told commissioners and some city officials in an email that the name was “Chiquita.”

Cruse said she told the bartender she would call her “Sheena” — as in Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, a leopard-skin bikini wearing a 1930s white woman comic book character. thought she was fierce,” Cruse said. “And that’s the first name that came to mind.”

The bartender said she replied to the commissioner, “No you’re (expletive) not, that’s racist as (expletive).” In the social media post, she said Cruse looked “offended” after being accused of being racist. She was then asked to leave and escorted out by security.

“I was mortified when she misheard me,” Cruse said. “I think his feelings are valid. . . . I respect that she felt rejected and that it was a derogatory remark. I respect that she thought that. I mean, I think his feelings are valid. And I want to apologize directly to her.

Cruse said she agreed to leave but said she didn’t mean to be offensive and later apologized in a Tuesday night video which she later deleted from Facebook. Her boyfriend, Greene, said he heard Cruse say the word “Sheena”.

“I try to empower women,” Cruse said. “That’s what I do, even if it comes across in the most ridiculous way.”

“When she wouldn’t give me her name, I should have acknowledged it as such,” Cruse said. “I should have left, but I didn’t. And for that, I apologize. It was not my intention to cause any trouble or trouble, and unfortunately that is what happened.

Porter, who was out of the country when Cruse was kicked out of his bar, said he trusted his employees who witnessed the name calling and interpreted it as racist and inappropriate. The bartender declined through Porter to be interviewed. She also didn’t speak to Cruse, who said he called the bartender after the incident to apologize.

The spat culminated in a Wednesday afternoon meeting at Club Rain, where Porter and Cruse accused each other of being dishonest and ultimately agreed to disagree. Porter, who is a Democrat, called on Cruse, a Democratic candidate for re-election in November, to step down. Cruse refused.

Porter emailed a summary of the confrontation to Sedgwick County commissioners and two Wichita city council members earlier in the week. He said it was not his intention for this to become public knowledge. Multiple sources provided the email to The Wichita Eagle on Tuesday. Porter agreed to allow a reporter from Eagle to witness his conversation with Cruse.

“I wanted it to be handled internally, but they’re handling things,” Porter said. “I wanted them to know how their colleague treated my employee in a public place. I don’t want this to hurt my business; I just want it to be over.

Porter said he would now support Republican Cruse opponent Ryan Baty. “I don’t think she’s the right person for this position, given the way she treated my employee,” he said.

Cruse said she believes Porter’s interest was political and possibly stemmed from her voting to close bars and other businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Porter disputes this.

“We live in a gotcha society, and I think there’s a target on my back because Republicans want that seat, and they’ll do anything to get it,” Cruse said.

“I disagreed with her on the COVID deal,” Porter said. “But it’s not politically motivated. I am a democrat. She’s a Democrat. I’ve supported Democrats all my life. I’m the one trying to protect my employees and my customers – they shouldn’t be treated with disrespect.

Porter insists it wasn’t a first offense for Cruse. He said she had been kicked out of his bar on two other occasions.

“Right before COVID,” he said. “She had to be taken away by security because she had drunk too much. And there was another time before that.

Cruse, in his conversation with Porter and XY’s general manager on Wednesday, said that didn’t happen.

“It didn’t happen more than once,” Cruse said. “That’s not the story. I haven’t – I mean, I’m a grown adult. I haven’t been deported. I haven’t been released from bars.

Cruse said Wednesday that she was wrong to call the bartender after she refused to give it away.

“Anytime a woman asks you to do something, you have to respect her wishes,” Cruse said. “And I should have respected his wishes. And for that, I’m really sorry. I’m mortified that she took it the wrong way.

Cruse, a board member of the Kansas African American History Museum, pointed to her work as a curator as proof that she was not racist.

“I defended $450,000 to help the Kansas African American Museum move to its new location in the shadow of the jail. I defended the policy in my freshman year that would require commissioners to consider age, race, gender and geography before nominating someone for a general appointment, and it was I who defended the Lead for America Fellow who now deals with diversity, equity and inclusion. work and sift through every policy we have. I championed the Diversity and Equity Inclusion Officer that we have now hired an outside company to do all the work to ensure we are an equitable organization. These are some of my accomplishments. I was the only commissioner who asked for an investigation into Cedric Lofton, and then my fellow commissioner Jim Howell joined in a different way, but those are some of the things that come to mind.

Cruse was also invited to be a guest speaker at the African Diaspora Business and Investment Roundtable at the New York Botanical Garden in The Bronx, New York, by the National Ghana Parade Council and Holistic Migration Consult. It is an extension of her exploration of a business relationship between Ghana and Sedgwick County that began in early 2020, when she traveled with a member of the Council of African American Elders to Ghana.

“I’m a human being who makes mistakes, but I’m not a racist individual,” Cruse said.

Chance Swaim covers investigations for The Wichita Eagle. Her work has been honored with national and local awards, including a George Polk Award for Political Reporting, a Betty Gage Holland Award for Investigative Reporting and a Victor Murdock Award for Excellence in Journalism. More recently, he was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @byChanceSwaim.

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