Dallas restaurant owner stands by his anti-twerking tirade that went viral

Kerry Breen

A restaurant in Dallas, Texas is facing backlash online after a video that shows the establishment's owner shouting at guests who were twerking to music played by the establishment's DJ went viral over the weekend.

The video, which has been viewed over two million times since it was posted to Twitter on Sunday, shows True Kitchen + Kocktails owner Kevin Kelley addressing guests at three tables with a profanity-laced speech.

"All this twerking s-–t, don’t bring it here because we’re a restaurant," he said, as the women danced on top of furniture. "... If you want to do it, get the f--k out of my restaurant. Don't do it again. I don't want to hear if you don't like it, get out because I don't need your money."

The backlash on social media was swift, with Twitter users criticizing the owner for escalating the situation. The video also sparked a conversation about respectability politics, racial bias and misogynoir. Both Kelley and the women who were dancing are Black.

Kelley defended his behavior on social media, writing that he had already warned the women about their behavior multiple times. Kelley also shared video of the previous conversations in the post's comments.

"While I would like to apologize to the patrons I offended with my poor choice of wording, I think this full story and a bit of video may help your understanding of the final straw with guests addressed and asked to leave," he wrote.

Kelley said that after the first incident, guests were "politely asked to stop and have respect for themselves and other customers." Video shows staff speaking to the guests; Kelley wrote that he declined to share more videos because he didn't want to "embarrass the guests sitting at those tables."

He wrote that the final straw came when "a customer stood on her seat, placed her hands against the glass windows and began to twerk."

"My immediate reaction was this woman could fall through this window and we could be the target of a lawsuit if she is injured," Kelley wrote. "My second reaction was enough is enough. After already addressing this behavior twice, these customers no longer deserved the courtesy of kindness I expressed in the earlier encounters as it was met with disrespect and intentionally ignored. This is why they were told to leave."

Kelley continued that he hoped the additional videos would "give a bit more insight" into the situation and said that going forward he and other staff members would "adjust our playlist and DJ selections."

"Regardless of what had or will be played, no guest has the right to come into our business 'home' and stand on our furniture because of any song played," he said.

He also addressed comments that had said twerking was part of Black culture.

"We do not welcome the part of the culture that will come into a restaurant, stand on furniture and twerk while using 'culture' as an excuse," he wrote. "Would you accept this for your home? (Ask) yourself if you would do this at any other restaurant you frequent?"

Kelley's post racked up hundreds of supportive comments, with many saying that there was no excuse for the guests' behavior and others adding that they had enjoyed their own experiences at the establishment. The restaurant did not respond to a request for comment from TODAY Food.

On Tuesday, the restaurant appeared to poke fun at the incident in another post.

"After conducting a thorough investigation, we have found that the spices, seasoning, and recipes of food mixed with the magic of our chefs are what’s making a few guests want to twerk," reads a post shared on Dec. 1. "We have had numerous discussions on the matter and have agreed that we will not change our spices, seasoning and recipes or culinary magic. However, we can’t allow standing in seats and twerking. Regardless, we do encourage all to come to TRUE Kitchen + Kocktails, enjoy the music, enjoy the vibe and be careful when you’re eating our tasty food."