In 1951, Josephine Baker made charges of racism against the Stork Club after she ordered a steak and was apparently still waiting for it an hour later.
Actress Grace Kelly, who was at the club at the time, rushed over to Baker, took her by the arm and stormed out with her entire party.
The controversy grew when Baker accused Walter Winchell of being in the Cub Room at the time and not coming to her aid. Winchell was at the club and had, he said, greeted Baker and one of her friends as the two went to use the Stork Club’s pay phone.
He said he was not aware of there being any problem, and left for a late screening of the film The Desert Fox. The next morning, Winchell’s rumored failure to assist Baker was big news, and he received countless telephone calls. Mrs. Rico, who was part of the Baker party with her husband, said that Baker’s steak was waiting for her at the table after she returned from her phone call, but the entertainer chose to make a stormy exit from the Stork anyhow.
News accounts show conflicting statements from the Ricos. Baker also filed suit against Winchell over the matter, but the suit was dismissed in 1955.
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