A Virginia man says he was the victim of discrimination after being denied entry into Busch Gardens for wearing a kilt on Oct. 16 (video below).
Hex Nottingham said he was on his way to Busch Gardens with his family when an employee stopped him and told him he could not wear a “costume” at the park during Howl-O-Scream, ABC 13 reported.
Nottingham was told he could not wear his kilt because it would confuse guests into thinking he was a cast member.
Nottingham disagreed and wrote an email to Busch Gardens regarding the incident. The email read, in part:
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“I was not dressed like, nor have I ever been mistaken for one of the cast members. I was wearing a ball cap, a sweatshirt, and a pair of modern combat boots. My plaid was purple and black, as opposed to the red based plaids the cast wear. My sporran was leather and meant for daily rugged conditions as opposed to the fur and silver lined sporrans of those dressed in formal regalia. My sweatshirt and hat both said ‘Nottingham’ because that is the British part of my U.K. bloodline. I was wearing no theatrical face paint what so ever, and had no plans to apply any once in the park.”
Nottingham also compared his situation with that of Muslims and Sikhs, asking what would have happened if they had denied entry to a Muslim for wearing a hijab or a Sikh wearing a turban. He also accused Busch Gardens of being “sexist,” claiming that if his fiancee had been wearing a matching kilt, they wouldn’t have had a problem with it.
Still, Nottingham was not allowed into the park and was told he could buy some pants.
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“Once my fiance[e] and I took the tram back to the Ireland parking lot, we were so shaken up by the atrocious insult we had just sustained that we didn't even want to come back to the park,” Nottingham wrote. “I've been a customer for decades and a regular pass holder, and this has left a terrible stain on the [honor] of my culture as well as my ethnic pride.
“The people responsible should be ashamed and the administration should resolve this swiftly and competently.”
A Busch Gardens representative issued the following response to Nottingham's email:
"Dear Mr. Nottingham
Thank you for your interest in Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I do see your very nice pictures and I am sorry that you felt discriminated against, but we do have a firm policy of no costumes at Howl-O-Scream.
We look forward to seeing you at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Please check out our web site for tickets and passes, dates and show times; and to sign up for email notices :http://seaworldparks.com/en/buschgardens-williamsburg/
Prices and offers are subject to change. Busch Gardens is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
Should you require additional information, please contact our Customer Information & Sales Center at 1-800-343-7946.