Sudanese woman claims racism behind venue refusal

Akeer Chut-Deng.
Akeer Chut-Deng. Kevin Farmer

A SUDANESE woman who was refused a venue booking at a popular Toowoomba hotel believes she was denied because of her race.

Akeer Chut-Deng, a Toowoomba mother and university student, said she called to make a booking at the Irish Club Hotel and was told by a staff member she couldn't hire the place "because of what your people did last time".

"I had been trying to organise a function and initially it was fine. I left my details and was told by a staff member I should be able to book it, but he would have to speak to the manager," Ms Chut-Deng said.

"Later I got a phone call and the woman asked where I was from and I said Sudan. She said unfortunately your people had a fight here last time and I can't do that for you.

"I informed the lady that we are not all the same and you can't possibly deny me the venue because some Sudanese had caused problems.

"I tried but she insisted there was nothing she could do to help me or us."

Ms Chut-Deng described this as "racism at its best."

An Irish Club spokeswoman who wished to remain anonymous said the booking refusal had nothing to do with Ms Chut-Deng's race.

"She's got her information wrong. She asked for a dance party for 140 people and we don't do that sort of thing."

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The spokeswoman said a bar attendant took Ms Chut-Deng's call and as they were looking into her request an email came through from someone else hoping to book a function on the same date.

"The room was booked out for another party. The function didn't suit our hotel. She wanted her own security and own food and we have set rules which don't allow that.

"It wasn't because she was Sudanese. That's ridiculous and insulting."

The Irish Club staff member said 100 people were the limit for booking functions at the hotel.



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