A trendy, upscale bar and restaurant in Toronto’s entertainment district has come under fire this week for hosting a performance that many online are saying was offensive
A video of dancers putting on a show at Kost, popular for its rooftop patio’s iconic views of the CN Tower, has blown up on TikTok due to the costumes used in the act, which included illuminated headpieces extremely reminiscent of traditional Indigenous headdresses.
“Kost in Toronto summer 2023 really thinks this is an appropriate costume for their dancers to wear. What do you think?” the original poster wrote atop the brief 16-second clip.
In the footage, two women can be seen swaying in front of the pool on the unmistakable outdoor terrace, which sits above the Bisha Hotel at King St. W and Blue Jays Way.
The post has garnered more than 54k views, thousands of likes and tons of reaction since it appeared on Thursday.
@calilopezz I’m genuinely curious to know your opinion. #indigenous #culturalappropriation #headdress #toronto #fyp #nativetiktok ♬ original sound – Cali Lopez
The more than 500 comments on it are largely full of outrage, with people thanking the individual who posted the video for bringing the issue to light.
Many are calling the outfits “disgusting,” “sick,” “ridiculous” and generally inappropriate, saying that the restaurant likely had many chances to veto the entertainment before it began, and that no one should have okayed it.
As one person wrote, “It’s 2023. These people should know better by now. No excuses for those outfits. Wow. Gross. I’ll never support them.”
Management replied to the viral TikTok soon after it was posted, writing
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We understand the concerns it has raised” in the first of a string of comments.
“This attire was provided by an external partner, Top Notch Entertainment, without our prior knowledge or approval. We agree it was inappropriate and want to clarify that this does not align with our values of cultural sensitivity and respect,” they continued
“We deeply apologize and take responsibility for this oversight. We are actively reviewing our procedures with third-party partners to prevent similar occurrences moving forward. We appreciate your understanding and will continue to ensure our events align with our principles of respect and diversity.”
Many are chiming in to say that the response is a perfect example of simply shifting the blame onto someone else, and also sounds disingenuous. Some believe it was written by ChatGPT or another A.I. program rather than an actual person, adding insult to injury.
“This is not concerning, this is outright disrespectful and racist. Mockery that should’ve been shut down the minute they walked out,” one person replied to the restaurant.
“Okay… how do you plan to reconcile this matter? Who thought this was a good idea?” another added.
Kost and its owners, INK Entertainment, did not respond to blogTO’s request for comment in time for publication, nor did they expand further on how they might remedy the situation in the ongoing conversation on the post.