Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Terri Woods

From the New York Daily News:

It was supposed to be a big night for top urban fiction author Teri Woods, who had invited 175 people to party at a trendy SoHo nightclub to celebrate her new book.

But Woods ended up in tears when she found almost her entire guestlist being kept outside Greenhouse's notorious velvet rope.

Now a $1 billion class-action suit says the partygoers were denied entry because they were black.

"They should have just put up a sign that said, 'No Coloreds Allowed,'" fumed Kashan Robinson, 39, of the Bronx, one of the plaintiffs. "There was no reason for them to not allow us into that club, except for the color of our skin."

Club owner Barry Mullineaux declined to discuss what had happened to Woods' party beyond calling charges of racism "all pretty much bogus."

Woods has text messages she says he sent that night showing he was barring people based on appearance. "Everybody looking at me like this ur people Barry???" read a text message. "I couldn't let in 300lb girls."

Asked if he remembered sending the messages, Mullineaux said, "Not word for word."

Woods said, "I was clearly violated that night, and so were so many other people. ... All I know is it had something to do with 'your people' and 'fat.'"

A pioneer of the enormously successful urban or hip-hop fiction genre, Woods had planned a blowout on Aug. 6, complete with popular DJ Suss One, bottles of French Ciroc Vodka and gift bags with copies of her new book, "Alibi."

Her party promoter printed up flyers for the Thursday night shindig at the "environmentally conscious" club on Varick St.

Greenhouse, which opened last year, already is known for its tough door policy and the long lines of clubgoers waiting to get in.

Woods, author of New York Times best seller "True to the Game," said she arrived to find that all her black guests - some of whom had traveled from as far as Virginia - had been turned away without explanation.

"They left all of my friends and family standing outside," she said. "I had really serious people out there: lawyers, doctors and people in the entertainment industry.

"I was embarrassed. I was just walking around in circles and in tears. They took my moment."

A handful of her guests who were white lawyers were allowed in, she said.

"There was nobody out there who was fat, and even if there was a fat person, who cares?"

Robinson, the sister of rapper Queen Pen, said, "When I asked the doorman what was the problem, he just looked past us like we didn't exist."

Robinson is part of the suit filed against Mullineaux and another club owner.

Woods is mulling a separate action.

"We're not talking about four people - we're talking over 100 people," said lawyer John Nonnenmacher, who filed the suit. "Our contention is Greenhouse didn't let people in because of the color of their skin. Because they were black."

Clubs can deny entry based on clothing but not race: The feds have gone after clubs in Virginia and Wisconsin that tried to keep black people out.

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