Bouncers live unglamorous lives. At best, they're forced to stand sober as happy-go-lucky partygoers dance in front of them. At worst, they're forced to wrestle knives out of patrons' hands.
But the security staff at Blondies — the immensely popular Fort Lauderdale beach bar also known as Dirty Blondes — has had a particularly troubled history. In 2013, a video showing a group of bouncers attacking Fort Lauderdale resident Alex Coelho went viral, and the bar faced intense backlash. Coelho threatened to sue, bar owner A.J. Yaari fired the bouncers involved, and scores of patrons recounted similar incidents to New Times.
But the bouncers are making waves again: A video posted to WorldStarHipHop.com's Facebook page Tuesday shows a tall, bald, bearded man getting choke-slammed at Blondies' back patio, which sits on Almond Avenue, a block from the beach.
In Homeric fashion, the clip begins in media res, as two security guards hang around the man's neck like handbags. After wrestling the man down onto a sofa — and, it appears, right onto an unsuspecting woman — one of the guards locks the man's head into a chokehold. Seconds later, he passes out, ejecting a wad of sputum from his mouth in the process. After a shirtless onlooker shouts "World Star!" — the closest thing our nation has to a battle cry — the man pops back into consciousness and sits up, looking dazed.
Dude Gets Put To Sleep By Security During Spring Break In Fort Lauderdale!Posted by Official WorldStarHipHop on Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Though the video was posted days ago, it's unclear when the incident actually occurred. Blondies' staff did not respond to multiple phone messages about the video, and Fort Lauderdale Police say cops haven't been called to the bar throughout all of March. It is unclear what sparked the fight.
Regardless, the video doesn't exactly improve the bar's reputation. According to court records, two people have sued the bar's parent company, Beach Bars USA LLC, since 2013, claiming bouncers had assaulted them. One case, however, was dismissed, while the other plaintiff appears to have lost. (Another man is currently suing, claiming he was assaulted by outside guests in the bar's restroom in 2014.)
After bouncers assaulted Coelho in 2013, an off-duty cop working as a bouncer arrested him. He was charged with both disorderly conduct and battery. Though those charges were eventually dropped, a subsequent New Times investigation revealed that Fort Lauderdale cops are routinely (and legally) paid to moonlight as off-hours security guards at bars across town. The report found that police regularly look the other way when bouncers assault customers.
After video of the 2013 fight went viral, bar owner and Fort Lauderdale power-broker Yaari said in a statement that violent incidents at the bar would not be tolerated:
"We do not and will not condone these types of actions within the confines of our businesses or anywhere for that matter," Yaari wrote. "As we take swift and calculated measures to move forward, we appreciate the patience of the public, the fairness of the media and support of our city and business leaders."
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Following the incident, a "Boycott Dirty Blondes" Facebook page sprung up in protest. After going dormant for a few years, the page popped back into action today:
We'll update the post as we learn more about the fight. In the meantime, happy spring break, everyone.