The white owner of a popular Columbia, S.C., restaurant picked the wrong white man to confide in.
Main Street Public House is now closed as the business investigates racist comments one of its owners, Jimmy Latulipe, allegedly made to a white musician he was trying to book.
As The State reports, Don Merckle, who manages the band Don Merckle and the Blacksmiths, accused Latulipe of using racial slurs in conversation with him. Merckle shared a detailed recap of the conversation on Facebook on Friday, calling the exchange “one of the most blatantly racist encounters I have ever experienced.”
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From Merckle’s Facebook post:
Jimmy let me know that I shouldn’t worry about playing there because he is going to keep the “nigs”out of his place. I was dumbstruck and thought I must have misheard him. I incredulously asked him to repeat himself. I believe my exact words were “What the F- did you just say??” And Brian, sure of what he heard, immediately told him that was NOT ok. Jimmy, sensing his error, immediately tried to back pedal. He apologized then added “…but you know what I mean.”
The conversation didn’t end there, according to Merckle. In the post, Merckle says he reminded Latulipe that he had a black member in his band, but that Latulipe called over a friend to try to smooth things over with Merckle and his bandmate, Brian.
As if Latulipe’s point wasn’t clear before, his friend cleared up any doubt.
I apologize for this next part because I am utterly disgusted by this word, but it is a DIRECT QUOTE and the only way I can properly explain what he said next. He said “ You guys have it all wrong. Jimmy’s cool with nigga’s, he just wants niggers out of his place. You know, with a hard R.”
As is par for the course in these sorts of conversations, the friend also blamed Latulipe’s words on the alcohol. Merckle wasn’t buying that, either.
“Being drunk doesn’t make you racist,” Merckle wrote. “Being racist makes you racist. Being drunk just removes your filter.”
Merckle said he told other musicians in the area about the encounter but waited a couple of weeks to share the exchange on social media because it “took time to process,” as he told the Free Times.
In his Facebook post, Merckle said that he chose to share his experience on social media to “let everyone know what kind of place the Main Street Public House really is and what its owner believes.”
According to The State, which quoted a Facebook post from Main Street Public House, Latulipe has been placed “on an indefinite leave of absence from our restaurant without pay.” The restaurant plans to reopen Wednesday.