A group of South Florida women claim they were recently turned away from a club inside Miami Beach's famed Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel, and they say it's a case of racial discrimination.
Liz Lopez, Nancy Pierrot, Katuschca Jubuisson and Kat Bing claim that what they thought would be a joyful birthday celebration inside one of the most recognizable hotels in the country became a violation of their most basic rights.
"I thought it was disgusting," Lopez said. "It violates our rights," said Pierrot.
In an exclusive interview with NBC 6, the women claim they were invited to and showed up to gain entrance to the hotel's Arkadia Lounge on a recent Saturday night but were turned away because of their race.
"Oh, I definitely know I didn’t get in because I am an African-American," Jubuisson said. "It really sickens me because of the fact that I have given plenty of money to the Fountainebleau."
Jubuisson claims a man working the club door approached her cousin as the group waited to get in the club.
"One security came up to her and he said to her 'I don’t think that you’re going to get in because you are black,'" she said.
The women said they didn't see any African-Americans enter Arkadia during the hour or so they spent in the lobby.
"I stood out there for at least forty-five minutes. I saw all these other white girls, you know, getting in and I still waited. The gentleman at the front door behind the velvet rope didn’t even acknowledge us," Kat Bing said. "One of the security guards saw us and kind of felt bad and approached me. He said you know what he’s not going to let you guys in because you’re black, you know that."
The women say what made it worse was that they had been invited to come to the club by a man who they say claimed he was a promoter for the club, Rodrick Dudley.
Lopez, who said she met Dudley in December, said she texted him to express her frustration at not getting into the club and he texted her back why.
"This is south beach a shallow self serving superficial place. They pay me 300 a night to bring attractive women to their establishment and or cats who spend dough. I know what it is going in," his text reads. "I've always been kind and accommodating to you and you've never shown me any appreciation which is fine. I don't need it this is what I do because I like you I tried to cordially give you a heads up warning cause the only reason they let your girls in last time was because I fought to get em in. Its a double standard @ the fountainbleu. White chics can be ok. Black chics gotta look twice as good and they only cater to a so called urban crowd on thursdays and sundays. Peace and love."
"If it's open to the public, why is it that you have to pick the day that I come because of the color of my skin?" Jubuisson told NBC 6.
David Kubiliun, an attorney representing the women, said they plan on filing a federal lawsuit.
"These texts are coming from someone who represents the club and they are extremely disturbing," Kubiliun said. "This is someone acting on behalf of Arkadia, which is in the Fontainebleau. And this is someone representing to my clients that they are not going to accept African-American females that night."
In a statement, the hotel said it embraces diversity and is an equal opportunity establishment.
"Fontainebleau Miami Beach is a hotel that embraces diversity and truly cares about its guests and Team Members. To nurture diversity on our property, we offer diversity trainings; embrace talent acquisition programs that bring Team Members to us from all areas of the world, and host events to celebrate diversity," the statement said. "We are an Equal Opportunity establishment that has been, and will continue to be, dedicated to this fundamental principle."
"What has been claimed in this investigation is not acceptable, will not be tolerated and should not have happened on our property," the statement said.
The hotel added that it has a non-discrimination policy that applies to employees, vendors and partners.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach expects that all relationships among persons are free of bias, prejudice, and harassment. Fontainebleau Miami Beach prohibits and will not tolerate any such discrimination or harassment," the statement said. "Fontainebleau Miami Beach is an establishment free of all forms of unlawful discrimination."
Fontainebleau also denied Dudley was a promoter for Arkadia.
"We have no affiliation whatsoever with Mr. Dudley. He has misrepresented himself as an authority of the Fontainebleau and Arkadia," the statement reads. "As a result of his violation to our code of ethics, he has been issued a trespassing warning and a cease and desist demand, prohibiting him from using Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s name, image and likeness of any entity affiliated with Fontainebleau Miami Beach."
The cease and desist letter tells Dudley his actions "have damaged the good reputation of the Fontainebleau Hotel," and bans him from their property.
"You are hereby directed to never set foot on the Fontainebleau Hotel Property. Should you do so you will be trespassing and the authorities will be promptly notified," the letter said.
NBC 6 contacted Dudley, who said he had nothing to say. He was reached on the same phone number Lopez's cell records indicate Dudley used to send the text messages. His texts show he also invited Lopez to Arkadia on four nights over a six-week period.
In one text, Dudley indicates he had to fight to get Lopez and an African-American friend into Arkadia on a previous Saturday night, claiming his own relative and her friends were rejected.
"Don't take this the wrong way but how do they look? One of my cuzns came down with 5 girls from tampa last week and the[y] didn't let them in because of that bullsh--," the text reads. "Chics that they don't feel are hot enough or overweight."
In Dudley's last text messages in reference to Lopez's group, he states "I'm not saying if they were white they wouldve got in."
He ends the exchange with "I don't want to text this conversation if you want to talk verbally let me know."
In its statement, the Fontainebleau said it would like to have the ladies return to the hotel and club to "experience the true level of hospitality that they deserve."
The women said the offer is nice but they don't want what allegedly happened to them to happen to anyone else again and they still plan to go forward with their lawsuit.
"This can't possibly be the first time they have done it. I can't be the first African-American woman that they have decided, you know, 'you can't go, we'd rather have you come tomorrow.'" Jubisson said.