Crowd gathers in protest outside SLC bar that refused service to Polynesian men

Posted at 9:33 PM, Feb 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-20 23:33:34-05

SALT LAKE CITY – A rally was held in front of a Salt Lake City bar Saturday night, and participants were expressing their displeasure after employee’s at that bar denied two men service because they are Polynesian.

The protest happened at Willies Lounge, which is where two men were denied service Tuesday because of their race.

The owner of the barhas since apologized, promised to change company policy and offer sensitivity training. He also met with community leaders earlier in the week to listen to their concerns.

Despite the apology, protest organizers say it's still important to stand up to racism.

"Small fires become big fires really, really quickly, and it’s vitally important that when injustice happens and those small fires pop up, you got to smash those, put them out, put them out in the biggest way you possibly can,” protest organizer Mike Tuiasoa said.

Originally, protesters were going to perform the haka, which is a traditional Polynesian war cry/dance, but they reconsidered because they said they didn't want to detract from the message or misrepresent the Polynesian culture.

The protest was organized by people supporting the men who were denied service, not by the men themselves. Those men told FOX 13 News earlier in the week they were meeting with attorneys to discuss their options and would not comment further until after they had done so.