The owner of a private outdoor recreation center in North Carolina is outraged at members of the community who say he is racist for banning baggy pants, dreadlocks, weaves and hair extensions from their pool.
According to Raleigh-area local station WTVD, on Monday, John Freeman, who co-owns the Outdoor Recreation Center of Wendell with his wife Teresa, said he is confused as to why anyone took offense to their rules which have been posted inside their office on the property for the last six years.
Freeman is also considering taking legal action against those who have accused him and his wife of being racist.
Due to the controversy, the facility, which charges a one-time $100 registration fee plus daily $6 admission, has since deleted the guidelines for using the pool from its Facebook page.
Previously rule number seven on the list of 14 read, “No baggy pants, no dread-locks/weaves/extensions or revealing clothes will be permitted or you will be asked to leave.”
Even though the hotly contested rule — which Freeman notes was written by his wife – is gone, social media users had already taken numerous screenshots, slamming the ‘racist’ guideline for being a thinly veiled attempt to target people of color.
“It did look racist, a racist statement,” said Diana Powell, Executive Director of Justice Served NC.
As a local activist, Powell says she was tagged numerous times on the post about the rules and ultimately decided to contact Freeman directly for an explanation.
“He told me that his wife is — they’re not racist,” said Powell. “His wife just actually just made a mistake.”
In a subsequent post signed by the Freemans, the couple apologized for their use of the word “dread-locks,” and went on to say the rules should have stated “NO artificial hair” would be allowed.
In yet another post, they clarify the reason for the “NO hair attachments” policy is the because a CPO (Certified Pool Owners) class advised businesses to not allow any hair extensions in their pool because it could clog the strainers and get into the pump. If that happened it could cause an automatic shutdown of three days.
“If they call me racist, they can put it in writing and we will deal with it at the courthouse,” said Freeman.
But Powell says the couple is missing the point, and she hopes they realize the true issue is not writing any rules that directly target people based on their culture or ethnicity.