Tim Sutherland, the lawyer for midtown nightclub Gaslamp, which has been hit with allegations of a racist door policy, has released one of the most astonishing damage control statements we've ever seen. Practically dripping with douchebaggery, the video careens from a steadfast denial of racism and embrace of elitism to a public awareness campaign for local non-discrimination ordinances to civics lesson to advertisement, while simultaneously radiating all the charm of an infomercial for boner pills.
Sutherland's main point is this: Gaslamp might be run by pricks, just not racist pricks. He's unapologetic about the club's velvet-rope devotion to image and willingness to sacrifice ordinary schlubs on the altar of snobbery.
“We are willing to hurt your feelings by telling you that you don't fit the dress code," Sutherland says, above a generically pleasant backing track. "We will tell you that you need some girls, and that this isn't bros night out, because we don't want you creeping out the girls that we already have inside. We will tell you that you're too cheap for our nightclub if you don't want to pay a cover. Because we know that if you won't pay a cover, you're probably not going to buy any drinks. This isn't Market Square Park free bingo night. We've invested millions of dollars in this business – we got to make a profit.”
And we have to admit: we love it. The candor about the pursuit of superficial pleasures; the flippant phrasing of "girls" as ornamentation; the desire to cling to high school cafeteria caste systems. It's actually downright refreshing — like a quick blast of Axe body spray. (Speaking of girls, though, we feel that this video could've used a few of those; it's a bit of a sausagefest).
The first 800 times we watched it, we couldn't help but wonder how BP would have fared if they would have presented something as self-aware and shameless as this in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill. How awesome would it have been if, instead of producing ads with frolicking, oil-free pelicans and paeans to environmental stewardship, that smarmy British dude would've looked straight into the camera and said, "Yeah, the courts ordered us to set up a fund because we valued the bottom line more than the well-being of roughnecks and a few fucking fish. We like money. Still do. Suck it"?
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The problem is, the Dick Train goes off the tracks a quarter-way through the video, and Sutherland talks about how federal non-discrimination laws don't apply to nightclubs, and how local ordinances are needed so there's a vehicle for filing and investigating complaints.
“This is about our city," Sutherland says. "It's about what we accept and what we reject – it's about what we're going to do about it.”
No, it's not, brah. It's about a freaking nightclub that's a carbon copy of every other doucheasis (that's douche-oasis) in every other city in the country. Sutherland seems to be reaching for loftier themes, like an aging frat boy reaching for the last roofie. We like it when he gets back to the dress code issue, and acknowledges how an unclear door policy "can blur the lines as to whether someone is being mistreated due to their race, or just because we're a bunch of assholes. We prefer it to be the latter.”
To that end, Gaslamp's management will post its policy at the door, and — as a way to appeal to new clientele while showing appreciation to the club's loyal patrons — waive covers until October 31. There's no mistaking it for what it is: a blowing of the conch to summon the city's brahs for a fete before The Lord of the Douchebags.