POLITICS

Bar owner withdraws drink named for Marion Barry's controversial 'Asian' comments

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A D.C. bar owner backed down after naming a drink for Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry's controversial April comments about Asian businesses.

The owner of the Pug Bar told ABC7 this started out as a tongue-in-cheek protest at a neighborhood bar over Mr Barry's comments.

"I think it's absurd they had to take 'dirty Asian Summer Punch' off their board," says Elizabeth Lewis, a bar patron.

D.C.'s Office of Human Rights sent the bar owner a warning saying, "Our office received complaints expressing discomfort about a sign they believed was racially offensive..."

The DC agency says it has jurisdiction over what appears in public.

But bar patrons say it's a violation of the owner's free speech rights.

"it's not making fun of the ethnic stereotype...but Marion Barry's comments," says Brian Larkin.

But at the Next Level Cuts Barber Shop in Anacostia, that so-called Ward 8 drink special is no laughing matter.

"I think it is offensive and shouldn't be allowed," says Elando Sampson, a barber.

The bar owner took the sign down before it got too far, but if he had been found guilty of violating the city regulation he could have faced fines of up to $10,000.

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