A pool located in Wendell, a town in Wake County, N.C., privately owned by John and his wife,Teresa freeman is currently facing social media backlash after people pointed out that their swimming pool rules are racist and specifically discriminating against black people.
Social media users were dragging the couple because they feel their rules are racist and target Black people. The rules for the Outdoor Recreation Center of Wendell ban baggy pants, dreadlocks, weaves and hair extensions from the swimming pool.
According to ABC 11, the pool owners are now threatening legal action against people who are calling them racist. John Freeman said his guidelines aren’t racist and he didn’t understand why people are paying so much attention to the rules which has been posted inside the pool office on the property for the last six years.Questa Bryant, a community member, posted an image of the rules on Facebook today, describing them as “absolutely disgusting” and urged people in the town and surrounding areas not to spend money at the establishment.
Questa Bryant told Yahoo Lifestyle that this isn’t the first time the pool owners have been racist. “If you look on the owners personal page they have made some disrespectful posts in regards to other races on the past,” she said. “When asked about the rules the owners stated they weren’t racist because they have black friends and a black son-in-law. They stated these were the rules: follow them or don’t come to the pool.”
According to Bryant, the owners quickly took down the image of the rules after they were confronted, and confirmed that she personally reached out to them.
After being barraged with comments on social media, the owners wrote a defensive post, which has since been deleted, claiming that the establishment and the owners are not racist. According to the post, the facility included the “no hair attachments policy” on recommendation by the Certified Pool & Spa Operator (CPO) — a credential managed by the National Swimming Pool Foundation, which warned against clogged strainers and pumps.
However, the public was unhappy with this response, claiming the language used clearly indicates that it’s racist.
“If these people weren’t blatantly discriminating against POC, they’d have just said ‘all artificial hair must be wrapped/covered’ and sell wraps and swim caps etc. like they do swim diapers,” commented one person.
“Pure ignorance. It makes my blood boil to see such racist and bogus rules,” another added. One woman said she experienced the discrimination firsthand. “He told me I couldn’t get in his pool because of my hair. He told me my hair could fall out and clog his drain,” her comment reads. “These are crochet. These ain’t coming out without scissors. Y’all I was so hurt and devastated and had to explain to my kids why we couldn’t swim. I thought it was just me.”
While many were furious with the rules, others pointed out that since the pool is a private establishment, the owners have the right to decide who is able to use it.
“If you don’t like the rules then don’t go!” a person commented. “This is a private business and it’s within their rights to make the rules. Unless you own a business of this type you can’t know what problems they have had that prompted the owners to make these rules.”
In one post signed by John and Teresa Freeman, the owners apologized for their ignorance of the meaning of the word “dread-locks.”The statement went on to say the rules should have stated “NO artificial hair” would be allowed in the pool.
John Freeman said they will talk with their lawyer and may bring each and every one of the people who has publicly called them racist to court
“If they call me racist, they can put it in writing and we will deal with it at the courthouse,” said Freeman.
Diana Powell who is the Executive director of Justice served NC said she hopes the Freemans will change the wording of their rules to not directly target a specific culture.