On Aug. 24, Nancy Eze and her friends went to Bridges Ale House & Eatery for the weekly Thursday wing night, as they had several times in the past. However, on this occasion, Eze was denied service and escorted out by the Saskatoon Police Service.
Eze has been banned from the establishment after an altercation with pub staff about improper identification, an incident Eze claims is based on racial discrimination in a video she posted on Facebook.
Eze, a third-year physiology and pharmacology student, explains that after the staff told her she needed government photo identification, she and her friends drove to her residence to retrieve another source of identification. When she returned, the manager, Marc Yuzdepski, denied her service because she did not have Saskatchewan Government Identification.
“I gave him my ID, and then the first thing he says is, ‘Do you have SGI?’ I was like, ‘No, but this is like legal tender you could use,’ and he was like, ‘I can’t take this,’ and he says he’s going to call the cops. That was the first part that came out of his mouth. I was like, ‘What? This is what I used to get into this country.’ I was shocked. I just blanked out. He said we needed to leave this establishment. I was like, ‘We didn’t do anything wrong. We know our rights,’” Eze said.
Eze believes that, because the manager was not asking other customers for SGI, she was being racially discriminated against. When contacted for comment on the event, pub management said that they do in fact accept passports but claim that Eze was refused service based on her behaviour.
According to a Bridges’ manager, Eze’s inappropriate behaviour and harassment earlier in the night led to their decision to refuse her service and subsequently to ban her from the bar, permanently. They claim that she called the staff “racist” when she did not have photo identification on her. Eze denies this claim.
The SPS officer arrived and talked to both parties, who gave conflicting accounts of the night. No police report concerning the event was filed, and the students left the pub after talking with the officer. After the incident, staff at Bridges contacted Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority to have Eze permanently barred from re-entering the pub in the future.
A manager at Bridges explained that sometimes, when customers are too intoxicated and harassing staff, they will be asked to leave. Typically, customers will return the next day to apologize, which remedies the altercation. The manager made a point of specifying that customers cannot return the same night, as Eze had done.
After the incident occurred, Eze took to Facebook to express her concerns with the manager, after which she received both positive and negative feedback from users.
“Then I made the Facebook video, and it’s getting so many crazy comments. Even people asking, ‘What is racist about it?’” Eze said. “Why would your first decision be to call the cops? It’s not like we’re drunk; it’s not like we’re destroying your property. We’re just sitting there, tired from work, and wanted to eat and leave, and when I didn’t have ID, your first [idea] is to call the cops, because you have the power and you have the control.”
Nykole King / News Editor
Graphics: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor