A controversial costume at a Halloween party Wednesday night at a popular South Jersey restaurant – an outfit that included a noose that wound up in a photograph that went viral on social media – led to a meeting and resolution Saturday between officials of the Gloucester County NAACP and Adelphia Restaurant & Nightclub in Deptford.
"After a full and fair exchange of positions and concerns, Adelphia has agreed to maintain strict vigilance of its online postings to avoid such issues in the future," said the statement, signed by Loretta Winters, president of the local NAACP chapter and Bill Balis, president of Adelphia. "The NAACP is satisfied that Adelphia genuinely recognizes the stated concerns on behalf of its constituents and both parties agree that no further corrective action is needed."
Balis had posed for a photograph with the noose around his neck. That picture wound up on the restaurant's Facebook page and quickly went viral, sparking outrage before it was removed. Civil rights groups condemned the act as racially insensitive, noting that the noose is a symbol of intimidation to black Americans.
Winters had asked for a meeting with Adelphia owners after receiving numerous complaints.
"Adelphia endorses all organizations which seek to educate the public on sensitive issues which may offend members of the community including specific issues as they impact the African American community," said the joint statement, issued Saturday afternoon.
The NAACP and Adelphia "pledge to maintain open lines of communication going forward," the one-paragraph statement concluded.
It was a swift resolution to an incident that brought unflattering publicity to a popular South Jersey landmark.
A scarecrow costume, worn by a man who walked on stilts and posed for pictures, won first place at the well-attended party. It was one of three Halloween parties Adelphia sponsored Wednesday night. A flier advertised a $1,500 prize for the best costume.