It’s important for us to reply to an incident that took place this past Saturday night involving a group that was dressed as “Cowboys and Indians”, who we subsequently learned were celebrating two birthdays. At the time, we believed that they were on a pub crawl and would be moving on to another destination shortly.
We want to correct the impression that the Rhino hosted the event, or in any way endorsed or condoned it, which is not accurate. We don’t know why the group chose to dress in these costumes. To the best of our information, at no time were any derogatory remarks made about aboriginal people.
We have heard from numerous people on social media that the event was racist and by implication that the Rhino is racist. We are deeply troubled by this. Nothing is more important to us than our customers and the experiences they share at the Rhino. To think that any of our customers left our establishment feeling offended and upset is unacceptable.
This incident is not an accurate reflection of the Rhino, which for over 20 years has strongly and proudly supported the many diverse cultures, ethnicities, religions, and lifestyles that define the Parkdale community.
We have the utmost respect and admiration for Canada’s aboriginal people and their distinctive cultural traditions.
Later that same evening, another group arrived to express their concern about the costumes and we allowed them to circulate a document entitled “Our Culture is Not A Costume”, in no way interfering with them doing so. When they asked individuals in the “Cowboys & Indians” group to remove their costumes, they complied without incident.
We extend to our entire community a sincere apology for the events that took place on Saturday evening.
Please accept our deepest apologies to anyone who has been offended by this incident and our assurances that we will not permit it to happen again.
Update on Events of Last Saturday Night
As we continue to look into the events of last Saturday night and put measures in place to assure that this sort of situation will not happen again, we would like to provide you with an update:
We have spoken with our servers, as well as our manager and assistant manager, regarding the claim that one of our customers was told “It’s just a costume, get over it” last Saturday evening. Although our employees do not recall saying such words, one of our employees does recall saying something along the lines of “they’re dressed in costumes”. Because I myself did not witness this statement being said, I cannot confirm or deny its accuracy.
However, I can say that we will be calling a staff meeting in order to explain to our entire staff the importance of identifying with our customers’ feelings, and addressing each concern in a respectful and understanding tone.
Again, we extend our deepest apologies for the events of last Saturday evening, and hope that our entire community will allow us to earn their trust and forgiveness.
It’s our community that truly defines us.