A black former General Manager at 1Oak says the hot-spot is a hot-bed for racism, with a club promoter getting a slap-on-the-wrist for calling him the n-word while he was eventually fired for complaining.
Christopher Hibbert, 34, the first black GM at the celeb-packed Chelsea club, says he was working on Dec. 1 when club promoter Steven Badias got in an argument with him over tequila bottle service for a party, according to a new Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.
“Badias bumped his chest against Hibbert’s, loudly and in Hibbert’s face twice said, “f—ing n—-r” and then asked, “what are you going to do about it?” the court papers allege.
Badias was given one-week’s unpaid suspension and sensitivity training but still works at the club, according to the lawsuit.
Owner Richie Akiva on Dec. 12, “asked Hibbert to give Badias a ‘second chance’ because he was important to defendant’s business,” the lawsuit alleges.
Meanwhile, Hibbert — who lives in Queens and has worked with the company since 2016 — was allegedly fired in April on false pretenses after being given a series of unwarranted warnings simply because he pushed back on the high-ups to ban Badias from the club and complained about other racism he saw there, the court documents charge.
The suit also claims that the West 17th Street bar has a history of “rampant” racism including not letting black and Hispanic people into the club unless they are famous.
Hibbert spoke up about how the door employees and hosts discriminated against black and Hispanic people by giving them higher spending minimums and seating them in the “least desirable section of the club,” which the suit says a slew of online reviews confirm, the court documents claim.
Other employees also experienced discrimination, Hibbert’s suit says, with a former black server wearing straight hair extensions “because she was told by the manager who hired her at 1 OAK not to wear her hair in its natural state,” the suit alleges.
Hibbert’s lawyer, Lou Pechman, said of the bar — whose name stands for “1 of a kind” according to their website — “perhaps a more appropriate name for the venue is ‘not one of your kind.’”
Hibbert is suing the parent companies of 1Oak, as well as Akiva, for discrimination. Neither 1 OAK nor Akiva immediately returned requests for comment.
Contact information could not be found for Badias, who is not named as a defendant in the suit.