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Texas restaurant owner goes viral for scolding girls who were twerking on table booths

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Stefan Stevenson

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The owner of a Dallas restaurant is trending on social media but it’s not because of anything to do with the food.

Video of Kevin Kelley, a lawyer with offices in both Dallas and Arkansas, who is the owner of True Kitchen and Kocktails in downtown Dallas, went viral after being filmed and posted Sunday night.

The restaurant, which is located right next door to the Majestic Theater at 1933 Elm St. on the east side of downtown Dallas, calls itself “a dynamic comfort food restaurant at its core,” according to its website, and it serves upscale fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and other southern classics with a twist.

The video, which has been viewed nearly 2 million times since being posted, shows Kelley telling the packed dining area that he will not allow twerking — which is what some would suggest is a provocative dance move.

“I invested a lot of money into buying this building and developing this concept so Black people could have somewhere nice to go to,” Kelley says to a quieted dining area. “Somewhere where our people could feel good about themselves and our culture.”

The video, which lasts less than a minute, has elicited a strong negative reaction on Twitter, where it was posted on Sunday. Many of those commenting take issue with Kelley’s harsh tone. A message left at his law firm had not been returned as of Monday afternoon.

Kelley defended his stance on social media posts on Instagram, saying he asked a woman politely to not stand on the booth bench. Surveillance video the restaurant posted shows a woman using her phone to capture her friend, who is off camera, purportedly twerking with her hands up against the window.

“So all this twerking and (expletive.) Don’t bring it here, because we’re a restaurant,” Kelley said in the video. “I want men to show respect for themselves with how they carry themselves here. So how can I tell the men to respect themselves and you guys are twerking on the glass here? If you want to do it, get the [expletive] out of my restaurant. I did it for my people, I did it for our culture. Don’t do it again. If you don’t like it, get out because I don’t need your money. I need to provide something for my people.”

Many of the complaints dealt specifically with the gender aspect of Kelley’s message. Others complained about his use of strong language, which he has since apologized for using.

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