Unmasked & Unfiltered: Charlotte Mayor & Councilmembers Accused Of Poor Behavior At Local Bar

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mayor Vi Lyles and a group of city council members including Larken Egleston, Julie Eiselt, Malcolm Graham and Tariq Bokhari reportedly had to be reminded multiple times while at Hattie’s Tap & Tavern Monday night to wear a mask while they were up and moving around the space. Hattie’s owner Jackie DeLoach says her staff also had to ask the Mayor to put on a mask when she entered the business. DeLoach also says, “When we asked them to put on their masks, they did. We just had to ask them to do it often.”

The Mayor’s spokesman sent WCCB a statement saying, “Mayor Lyles says she followed the rules of the establishment. And says every time she got up, she had her mask on.”

Queen City Nerve publisher Justin LaFrancois was at the bar at the same time. He also says bar staff and the bar owner had to repeatedly ask the group to wear their masks. LaFrancois says, “To see our elected officials abuse it essentially with blatant disregard to the rules made me so disappointed.”

One councilman, Tariq Bokhari, is also accused of making demeaning jokes about the people at the business.

“I think more so I was just disappointed with how they were making fun of us and the customers and my staff. And making a lot of jokes and that just kind of hurt my feelings,” says DeLoach.

Bokhari tells WCCB, “I made what I thought to be an innocent joke that clearly didn’t resonate, and I’m sorry for how it was received – It was certainly not my intention to make someone feel unappreciated.”

Bokhari would only speak with WCCB on background about the content of the joke he made; he declined to go on the record with those specifics. DeLoach says the joke Bokhari made was about a marijuana blunt.

Charlotte voters have been weighing in on social media for almost 24 hours now, saying things like:
“I have never walked into an establishment after getting out of my car and forgot to put on a mask.”
“This behavior is insane.”
And, “So disappointing.”

Our question of the night: is the council’s behavior fine or frustrating?

This episode’s panel features:
WCCB TV’s Morgan Fogarty
WCCB News @ Ten anchor Drew Bollea
WCCB News reporter Alexandra Elich