Fourth Street Live changes dress code after complaints - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fourth Street Live changes dress code after complaints

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LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (WDRB) -- Baggy pants and bandanas are in.

Fourth Street Live in downtown Louisville changes its dress code in response to claims of racial discrimination.

Cordish Companies, the operator of Fourth Street Live, denies repeated complaints some people were allowed inside, while others in the same style of clothing were not.

"Our concern was making sure that that dress code was applied to everyone fairly," said Amber Duke of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.

A coalition of community activists convinced the Cordish Companies to make changes so everyone knows what guests can -- and can't wear -- at Fourth Street Live.

"This has never happened before with all the allegations that lasted a decade," said Christopher 2X, a community activist who helped to bring various parties together for talks that started in August.

A top Cordish executive called the changes "positive."

"Fourth Street Live does not discriminate, nor have we engaged in discriminatory practices," said Zed Smith, Cordish vice-president of operations.

But Fourth Street Live is now promising diversity training for its security, a toll free hotline for complaints and changes to its dress code to allow baggy pants and bandanas.

It also promises bigger signs at the entrances detailing the revised dress code. You could see them at the next Mardi Gras event Saturday night.

The changes come in response to years of complaints and pressure from the city, the ACLU and other social justice groups.

One tenant was sued on racial grounds; that suit is now pending in Louisville.

WDRB News asked Smith:  "The perception that you discriminate has been here for years, almost since the place opened. How do these efforts work differently than efforts in the past, and how do you ease that perception?"

"I think we have to take things on their face. The community has raised some concerns. We've tried to address those concerns. I think it's an ongoing challenge," Smith said.

The activists say they'll watch closely.

The revised dress code is on the Fourth Street Live website:  http://www.4thstlive.com/info

Copyright 2013 WDRB News.  All Rights Reserved.

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