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Virat Kohli’s restaurant chain One8 Commune finds itself surrounded by controversy; here’s why

The restaurant issued a statement after an LGBTQIA+ activism group said it discriminated against the community.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: November 15, 2021 8:10:03 pm
Virat KohliVirat Kohli's One8 Commune currently has branches in Delhi, Kolkata and Pune. (Source: AP)

Indian cricketer Virat Kohli‘s restaurant chain, One8 Commune, found itself surrounded by a controversy on Monday after ‘Yes, We Exist’, an LGBTQIA+ activism group said the restaurant discriminated against the community.

In a detailed post shared on Instagram, the page said the restaurant only allowed entry to “cisgender heterosexual couples or groups of cisgender women.” As per the post, the Pune Branch, when contacted, said, “Gay couples or a group of gay men not allowed; trans women are allowed subject to their clothing (sic).”

However, the restaurant denied all charges. “We don’t do any discrimination on the basis of gender,” Amit Joshi, Pune branch, One8 Commune, told indianexpress.com.

Check out the post here.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Yes, We Exist (@yesweexistindia) 

Terming their policy non-discriminatory, Joshi explained, “We have restriction on stag entry which means individual boys are not allowed within the premises. This is only for the safety of the ladies present in the premises.”

“If a group of boys and girls enter together, we definitely allow that,” he told indianexpress.com. Upon asking about the entry restrictions on gay couples and transgender men, he said, “There are no such gender-based restrictions. They will be definitely allowed.”

“Stags are always allowed in our restaurant and we never say no to our guests. We only turn them down when we are completely occupied or the boys are wearing shorts,” Niharika Kurrar, Delhi branch, One8 Commune, told indianexpress.com.

Further, Indrajeet Ghorpade, founder, Yes, We Exist, told indianexpress.com that the restaurant apprised him that trans women are allowed “depending on what they are wearing”. “They are allowed if they are wearing proper female clothes,” he remembered being told by the restaurant.

“We have a very simple policy that says people who are not wearing proper attire will not be entertained in the restaurant. We don’t allow sandals or floaters. Everybody is expected to wear either smart casuals or smart formals. That’s the only clothing restriction we have,” Joshi said.

Agreed Kurrar and said, “It’s a fine dining restaurant. We just want people to be dressed appropriately so that other guests don’t have any issues. In those cases, we make the guests politely understand our policies.”

In the wake of the controversy, the restaurant also issued a clarification addressing all the allegations. “At One8 Commune, we believe in welcoming all people irrespective of their gender and/or preferences with utmost respect and honour. As our name denotes, we have always been inclusive in serving all communities since our inception,” it read.

Read the full post here.

virat kohli One8 Commune issued a clarification after being accused of discrimination. (Source: One8 Commune/Instagram) Virat Kohli Virat Kohli’s restaurant chain issues clarification. (Source: One8 Commune/Instagram)

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