Saddle Up nightclub facing backlash over ‘no dreadlocks’ policy

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. — Community members are upset following a post made on the Facebook page of a night club in downtown Peoria.

Tyler Seibert, owner of Saddle Up Dance Club, reportedly implemented a “no dreadlock” policy for a night over the weekend. The policy left club patrons angry and searching for answers.

The nightclub received backlash all over social media, and the original Facebook post has since been deleted.

Seibert said the policy was created to stop marijuana use in the nightclub. In the post, Seibert states, “Over the past 7 months 9 of the 11 people we caught lighting up marijuana had dreadlocks.” Then so he “made the decision to add no dreadlocks” to the club’s code of conduct.

Several people claimed they were denied access to the club because of their hair.

Kamal Evans tried entering the night club on the night that the policy was enforced and turned away.

“As soon as I got to the door they seen the dreads and they were like no we’re not letting you in here tonight, you’ve got to go,” Evans said. “I stood there and I’m like you can’t be serious, I’m like you can’t be serious this is a joke, I honestly I thought they were joking.”

Evans said he has no criminal record and does not smoke marijuana.

I was hired at the post office, so I can handle a government job, but I can’t come into your establishment. So for you to just see my dreads and assume ‘trouble maker’ is pretty bad.

Kamal Evans, claims denied entry due to hair

The club owner attempted to justify this policy by referring to a federal appellate court that upheld a no-dread hiring policy.

In his posts he states, “First, it is 100% legal to restrict.”

Attorney Rob Hanauer, with Hanauer law said otherwise.

It’s not logical, it makes no sense at all. There are so many problems with this I couldn’t even begin to start with naming all of them.

Rob Hanauer, Hanauer Law

The Peoria Liquor Commission code says owners with a liquor license cannot discriminate.

“If you have a liquor license you have to allow people the full enjoyment of that liquor license and allow them to patronize your establishment,” Attorney Hanauer said.

First district councilwoman, Denise Moore, said Seibert should have known better and that the city is taking steps to make sure this does not happen again.

“We’re doing some investigations at the city level trying to determine if this is a pattern of behavior. If this is a pattern of behavior people have experienced, I’d like to know about those things and I’d like to have them contact me at the city,” Councilwoman Moore said.

We reached out to Tyler Seibert for comment he said, “I tried the policy for one day and it didn’t work. I will find another way to deter smoking marijuana inside.”

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