Racially insensitive piñata offends customers at River North bar

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CHICAGO -- Some customers at a River North nightclub say they were embarrassed and offended after a racially insensitive piñata was paraded around the club by white customers Sunday evening.

The piñata resembled a performer in blackface at the El Hefe Club on West Hubbard St.

Stunned, couldn't believe their eyes just a few words the next gentleman uses to describe his experience.

Customer Matt Solida wa sat the bar with some friends who were African American. His group saw the piñata that appeared to be part of a birthday party at the bar. They found the situation offensive.
“I felt embarrassed having brought them there. They were offended,” Solida told WGN News. “No one at the table seemed to be offended. They were passing it around, taking pictures, posing and stuff like that.”

When they asked employees what was going on they were told it was brought in by someone in the party and that it was they were told an inside joke.

Solida says an executive of El Hefe which is based in Arizona has apologized to him and his friends and has issued a public apology saying they will use the matter as a teaching moment.

Solida he felt he just had to get the word out on what happened.

“Nightlife is supposed to be fun for everyone,” he said.

Solida says at no point did he see anyone hitting the piñata.

DNA Info reports a spokesperson for the club as saying "the bar neither purchased nor provided the piñata to the group and apologized to anyone who was offended by the situation."