I’m not a big fan of what modern country music has become, maybe I’m more old school because I grew up with a father who listened to Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash’s of the world.
My wife, on the other hand, loves the modern day Luke Bryan’s, Brad Paisely’s and Dierks Bentley. Country music, in general, has always had a connection with us veterans, perhaps because country music speaks so much to patriotism, family values, and Americana.
As a veteran living here in Phoenix, the 5th largest city in the US, and who works closely with veterans in Real Estate and business, I believe in giving back to those that gave so much for our freedoms. I definitely know not to judge a veteran family buying a home because one or both spouses have tattoos. Do you know how much business I’d lose if I arbitrarily said “sorry I can’t work with you because of your neck or hand tattoos.”
Recently, a US Marine Corps veteran (with 2 tours in Iraq) was humiliated last Wednesday night when he was denied entrance into a Whiskey Row restaurant, owned and operated by Dierks Bentley into his new Gilbert Restaurant named Dierks Bentley.
Brandon Andrus, was turned away with family members because he had the number “22” tattooed on his neck to honor the 22 veterans taking their lives daily across the nation.
According to Andrus “they thought I was going to cause trouble,” talk about stereotyping right!
Robyn Moore, a spokeswoman for Riot Hospitality of Scottsdale, which operates three Whiskey Row restaurants owned and operated by Dierks Bentley and named after him, said: “the company was upholding a policy recommended by police.” Remember he’s from here and loves making money off them, but won’t allow “certain”vets into them.
So, Richard Park, a Phoenix resident called the Gilbert Police Department, who told him the following: “the police department recommends that companies formulate policies that they feel will make it a safe environment for their circumstances.”
So now you’re trying to throw blame on the Police Department and not accept the fact that it’s your policy and you’ve also been caught in a lie trying to defuse a PR nightmare.
Apparently, if Whiskey Row made an exception for Andrus, then “we would need to make an exception for everyone,” she went on to further say.
So let me get this straight, your policy is to allow no one with a neck tattoo in and how visible is considered visible? What if someone wore a jacket, took it off, and a tattoo peered out a little over the collar, would you escort them out after they spent several hundred dollars in your restaurant?
As a veteran in the community, I hope this hits you where it hurts best Whiskey Row, in your wallet. This is going to become a PR nightmare and mark my words it will spread like wildfire about what you did, and already has via local news.
The balls in your court, I know one thing though, I’ve never been to one of your places and now never will and I’ll do everything in my power and veteran network to spread the word about what you’re doing to those that sacrificed the most, our veterans.
Alex Popovic is a US Marine Force Reconnaissance and Scout/Sniper veteran.