Watch: Viral Video Of Security Dragging Black Woman by Hair Sparks Protest at DC Gay Bar

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday June 15, 2021

Protestors gathered outside a gay bar in Washington, D.C., after a video showing a Black woman being dragged down the establishment's stairs by the hair went viral on social media, The Huffington Post reported.

"Footage of the incident, which took place late Saturday and was posted to Twitter and Instagram shortly thereafter, shows 22-year-old Keisha Young being pulled down a staircase at Nellie's Sports Bar by an unidentified guard," per the report, which adds that, seconds later, a fight involving other patrons erupted at the foot of the staircase as patrons tried to intervene.

Young, a student at Morgan State University, was out celebrating Pride on June 12. Young told news channel WUSA that the horrific treatment she suffered arose from a case of mistaken identity.

"They were trying to get some other people out because somebody else brought a bottle in there," Young recounted. "Somehow I got mixed up in an altercation because I look like somebody else and I got hit and dragged down the steps."

Young was at the protest outside the bar on June 13, the day after the incident occurred. Of the protest, she told WUSA: "I didn't expect it to turn into something like this, to be honest, but I'm feeling very warm that a lot of people are out here helping support me."

In comments elsewhere, Young said she suffered "bruises all over," and said she thought she had suffered a concussion. NBC Washington quoted Young as saying, "I was really throwing up. I had a really bad headache and everything was just dizzy. I couldn't really focus."

Speaking with her attorney, Young added, "I feel like, even just separating race from it, no man should ever handle a woman in that way. That should never be OK."

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser addressed the incident, saying, "Obviously, entrepreneurs enforce rules in their restaurants. But they're not allowed to assault anybody."

The bar said in a statement that it had fired "the independent security vendor hired to protect our guests during Pride Week," adding that "no matter what behavior occurred prior, nothing warrants mistreating, and disrespecting, one of our guests."

"What we can say is we have heard the concerns of the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities. Nellie's will be closed this week as we evaluate this regrettable situation, though we will continue to pay all non-security staff their normal wages," the statement continued.

Watch the WUSA news clip below:

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.