The management of a water park in Lee's Summit, Missouri is under fire after turning away a Black family and their guests for a birthday party for two teenagers they had booked there.
The family was told by management of the Summit Waves water park that they were "uncomfortable" hosting the party, which the family believes was a thinly veiled reference to their race.
The incident has outraged people in the community, who gathered to protest outside the park on Monday after video of the incident went viral on TikTok, as seen below.
Teens Noah and Isaiah Evans paid for their birthday party out of their own money, saving up $2000 to rent out the water park for the occasion.
But upon arrival, they were turned away and told their gathering “didn’t represent Summit Waves." The family has filed a complaint with the city saying that the water park discriminated against them.
The city of Lee's Summit has a different version of events, however.
The Evans family had a signed contract for the party allowing them up to 250 guests, but the city claims they showed up with around 500 people after having advertised the birthday party on social media.
But in video clips of the incident, including longer versions shown by local media, no such crowd is shown. The Evans family appears to be accompanied by a group of around 30 guests.
And while only short clips of the full incident have been made available, at no point within them does the water park's management make an attempt to explain to the Evanses that their party had grown too large.
Rather, a manager explained that the social media "outreach" the Evanses performed made the water park "uncomfortable."
Employees of the water park were also seen seemingly mocking the Evanses in Snapchat posts, and there have been reports of employees using racial slurs in other posts referencing to the incident.
The boys' mother LeyShon Evans told local NBC affiliate 41 Action News that Isaiah teared up from embarrassment during the incident. Noah was deeply disappointed that his birthday party was canceled as well, telling the news station:
“I was hoping to have fun with my friends before we start school again, to end the summer."
The Evanses filed a complaint with the city of Lee's Summit, which has said it will refund their money.
The Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation Department also completed an investigation into the incident, and found that while the park's contracts state that social media advertising is not allowed for safety reasons, its employees did not effectively communicate these policies.
The Department also criticized the way its employees spoke to the Evanses, calling it "inappropriate and insensitive."
But for the Evanses and the many people in their community angered by the incident, that isn't good enough, and people on social media were similarly outraged.
According to the Evans family's attorney, they have yet to be refunded their money for the party as of Monday.