Moulin Rouge fined for racist policy

Saturday, November 23, 2002

PARIS -- The managers of the Moulin Rouge, the French cabaret famous for its scantily clad dancers, was fined $10,000 Friday for refusing to hire a waiter because he is black.

The cabaret must also pay $4,500 in compensation to Abdoulaye Marega, a waiter from Senegal, the court said.

Marega applied but was turned down for a job as a waiter. A manager said the restaurant does not employ "people of color" in the entertainment room, prosecutors told the court.

An anti-racism group, SOS-Racisme, took up Marega's cause and sent another black man to apply for the job. The manager, Micheline Beuzit, gave him the same answer, unaware that a labor official was present.

Beuzit was also fined $3,000 on Friday. Neither she nor other club managers were in court.

At last month's hearing, defense lawyers denied any racist labor practices at the restaurant, which is managed separately from the dance show.

Andre Poussimoure, in charge of legal affairs at the restaurant, told the court that in the past 40 years "no black person has ever applied for a job in the (entertainment) room."

The Moulin Rouge, famous for its spectacular dance productions with women clad in feathers and little else, inspired the 2001 blockbuster film "Moulin Rouge," starring Nicole Kidman.

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