Discrimination Case Filed Against Midtown Nightclub Shows Need for Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance

Moments ago, the three African-American attorneys – Brandon Ball, Dan Scarbrough, and Ken Pigee – who were charged a cover last month at the Gaslamp nightclub, while white patrons got in for free, filed a federal lawsuit against the club under Title 2 of the Civil Rights Act. We were proud to stand alongside the men and their legal team at a press conference this morning outlining their case, which underscores the need for Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance and a Yes vote on Proposition 1.

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At the press conference today, their attorney said that the Gaslamp incident is clear proof that discrimination is a problem in Houston—and that we need a local tool and remedy to deal with this local issue.

Ball remarked that while he was shocked to experience this level of discrimination in the city he calls home, he is not alone—pointing to data showing that while Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance was in effect, 56% of discrimination claims were based on race.

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Ball describes what happened to him at the nightclub in a new radio ad by the Houston Branch of the NAACP, calling for a Yes vote on Proposition 1:

“On September 11, 2015, me and two friends were charged to get into a local Houston establishment, while white patrons were allowed entry at no charge,” says Ball in the ad. “It’s discrimination, and that’s unacceptable.”

Listen to the ad below:


Reports earlier this week by Channel 2 and Houston Press uncover new allegations of the Gaslamp charging Hispanic women a cover charge, while letting white men in for free. Dr. Laura Murillo, president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce addresses the incident in a forthcoming video.