Black Lives Matter has given Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse clear instruction to cut all ties with the Newport-based Bailey's Beach Club, or they will cause considerable irritation in his day-to-day life.
"We'll go to his club, we'll go to his office, we'll go to his home – wherever we need to go," said Mark Fisher, one of BLM's chapter directors. "This is an issue that's not going to go away and Senator Whitehouse needs to address it, he needs to take it on."
Several weeks ago, Whitehouse was accused of being a member of the elite club that serves only white members. Following an initial interaction with a reporter, during which Senator Whitehouse accepted the premise of the accusation, he later said, "I then checked the assertion and was assured that, first, the assertion was wrong, there is diversity in the club membership and there are non-white club members; and second, that improving diversity remains a priority and an active task for the club’s new board."
Whatever the senator's personal membership status at Bailey's maybe, his wife, Sandra Whitehouse, is one of the three largest shareholders at the beach club.
"If he thinks we're just going to forget about it, if he thinks that it's going to get swept under the rug – it's not ... This club is a proven racist club with exclusive ties to supremacy and exclusion, and that’s something that’s not gonna be tolerated by me, by my associates, my affiliates or my organization," said Fisher.
Though Whitehouse claims the club is on "the right side of pushing for improvements," he recently admitted that is a member of a separate Rhode Island sailing club that suffers from a similar lack of diversity.