Country Club Mistakes Breast-Feeding For Terrorism
A Belgian diplomat and his breast-feeding wife have been left shaken and offended following an unfortunate lunch on June 8 at the Metropolis Country Club in White Plains, New York.
The exclusive club permitted Tom Neijens, 36, and his wife, Roseline Remans, 34, to dine on their terrace, despite the fact that they were not members. However, when Roseline began discreetly to breast-feed their baby, trouble ensued.
According to Neijens, the couple were approached by the club manager who insisted that Ms. Remans desist feeding the child following complaints from other diners.
Neijens told The Post, "She said, ‘please leave immediately, you are disturbing the members.'"
Events escalated quickly when, following the couple's refusal to leave, the club called the Greenburgh Police Department. According to Neijens, first secretary of the Belgium Mission to the UN, Detective Scott Harding acted with undue force, yelling "Close the doors" and evacuating the terrace.
“He was walking as if he was acting in a Western movie,” Neijens said. “He had one hand on his gun, one hand on his taser.”
Other diners at the club allegedly believed the couple to be terrorists due to Neijens' black backpack. When the couple questioned why terrorists would have a baby, they were informed that in Sri Lanka, babies are often used by terrorists as disguises. Tensions relaxed once Neijens showed Harding his State Department-issued ID, and the couple were escorted out of the back of the club. No arrests were made.
Since the incident, Neijens has written to the club asking for an apology. He said, “I am deeply worried about your staff if they cannot distinguish between a European couple looking for a quiet place to breast-feed a baby and suicide terrorists carrying a backpack".
In a statement, Lt. B.J. Ryan, a spokesman for the Greenburgh PD, called the incident a “cultural misunderstanding”, but as of yet, no such apology has been made.
Who knew that breast-feeding was so culturally alien?