Rogue

A for-lease sign is posted in the window of the emptied-out former home of Rogue Barber Co. in downtown Champaign.

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CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign Human Relations Commission will begin a public hearing next week regarding alleged discrimination atthe former Rogue Barber Co., which closed last summer after a string of protests.

The city shared few details about the complaint, which will be the first discrimination case to lead to a public hearing since 2002.

The unnamed complainant alleged that Rogue Barber Co. discriminated against a resident on the basis of sex, according to the city.

Rogue Barber owner Michael Long did not respond to a request for comment.

An initial hearing will be held virtually at 5:30 p.m. Monday, when the commission’s chair will appoint a hearing officer, go over procedure and schedule the substantive portion of the hearing, which will come later.

During the hearing, the city’s legal department will prosecute the case, the hearing officer will preside and the commission will determine the outcome.

The city’s Office of Equity, Community and Human Rights investigates discrimination complaints and tries to reach a voluntary agreement or settlement between the parties.

In nearly all cases, the complaints are resolved before reaching a public hearing, according to the city.

Long ran a barbershop in Monticello before opening Rogue in November 2019.

His business became the target of protests last summer after announcing in a since- deleted post on its Facebook page that it was a “private membership traditional barbershop (not unisex) not open to the general public” and would require prospective members to fill out an application that allegedly asked whether they are a member of any “violent extremist groups” such as antifa or Black Lives Matter.

Rogue Barber Co. closed in August, and its location at 12 E. Washington St., C, is now occupied by Next Level Hair Parlor, whose owner has made a point to serve all customers.

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