This week Philadelphia Magazine ran a story about an incident at Memories in Margate last weekend after Ron Boykin, a hair stylist from Northern Liberties posted his account on his Facebook page. Bill Winneberger, a resident of Cheltenham was with the group of men that had the encounter at Memories in Margate, located in Margate New Jersey.
Winneberger was down the shore on vacation and his son Ryan called him and asked him to come out with him and some friends on Saturday night, August 24.The plan was to go to Maynard’s and Memories in Margate, so Winneberger, his son Boykin and three white friends headed out around 11 pm.
“We were walking up to the door at Memories and this guy at the door was yelling you can’t come in here, said Winneberger. We didn’t realize at first that he was talking to Ron, who is 6 ‘4, and then it became apparent he was referring to Ron.”
Boykin asked why he wasn’t allowed in and he was told because he was wearing a white V-neck. Boykin told the doorman “my shirt is not white, it is tan.” The doorman told Boykin either way it’s a V-neck, so Boykin pointed out, “one of my other friends has a V-neck on and you did not tell him he can’t come in. According to Winneberger the doorman then said well it is white and you can’t come in. Then Boykin decided to walk away.
Winneberger recalls, “My son said come on Dad let’s go, but I couldn’t let it go. These guys were dressed nice, and Ron’s shirt was a nice beige shirt. I walked up to the guy and I asked him where the dress code is posted, and he told me that it’s not. I told him I see guys wearing this type of shirt out all the time, and it isn’t white. The doorman said to me I’m doing what my boss told me to do, so I called him an asshole, and we walked away. Ron handled it like a gentlemen, better than me.”
As they were walking away Boykin recalls, “There happened to be two men coming up in actual white V-necks and I told them they may not get in, but I said let’s see. They let them both in as I watched from the side, and he watched me watching. It was nasty and I felt mortified.”
“In all of my years of going out down the shore what to wear was never an issue, it’s like Key West, said Winneberger. As I watched two men in wearing white V-necks get in is when I realized this is a racist thing, this is a sad thing.”
See Facebook Post from Boykin that lead to the initial story…..
I went to this place because my friends and clients that owns homes in margate told me i would have a blast. I never…
According to Philadelphia Magazine Memories in Margate owner Jerry Blavat says this is all one big misunderstanding. “I am not a racist,” Blavat told Philadelphia Magazine. “There has never been an act of discrimination at this club in 46 years. About 20 black people with Quincy Harris from The Q were here a couple of weeks ago,” Blavat told Philadelphia Magazine.
What about the two white guys who were let in wearing white T-shirts after Boykin was turned away? Blavat told Philadelphia Magazine they weren’t there to hang, and were just picking up some balloons from a party earlier that night.
Blavat told Philadelphia Magazine, “Girls come in wearing beautiful dresses. Men come in looking sharp. This guy had a T-shirt on. These people are making a mountain out of a molehill. Memories in Margate’s Facebook page has a photo album called Saturday Nights and there are a number of men in white T-shirts including men in graphic white t-shirts in that album.(not exactly dressed sharp).
Philadelphia Magazine asked Blavat about the photos of white men in the club wearing white t-shirts on Facebook, and Blavat told them that “some nights have a less stringent dress code than others.” Blavat went on to say, “But on Saturday nights, you just gotta dress up!” “It’s really not that hard to understand. These guys were just troublemakers.”
Winneberger read Blavat’s comments about loosening the dress code on some nights, and said “that’s code word for business is slower during the week, but we don’t want minorities in on the weekends.”
Winneberger tells Glenside Local, “I couldn’t believe Jerry Blavat called us trouble makers because this group of guys are the most laid back group. I’ve been out with the guys to nice clubs in Philadelphia, and none of them have ever been underdressed,” said Winneberger.”
Winneberger goes on to say, “I never gave much thought to what to wear going out at the shore, but now I am paying attention.” Winneberger lived in Margate at times in his youth, and ran a beach chair rental business with his brother during summers in Atlantic City to pay his way through college.
Winneberger has lived in Cheltenham Township most of his life, and grew-up in Rolling Hills. He bought a house in Glenside in 1980, because of its diversity, Winneberger said, “It’s a great place to raise children because they have to learn to get along with everyone. My wife and I raised our kids not to see color.”
Winneberger was Vice President of Publishing Operations at Staywell, a health and science company for 17 years, and now operates WAW Consultants. Winneberger is active in his community, and serves on the Planning Commission for Cheltenham Township.