An Applebee’s restaurant in Missouri has been temporarily closed and three employees including the manager fired after two diners posted to Facebook a video of a confrontation in the restaurant.
In the video, which has been viewed an estimated 3.3 million times, two women are ejected from the Applebee’s in the Independence Mall after being accused of running out on the check the previous day
Alexis Brison, one of the accused women, said they were “mocked, humiliated, and embarrassed” and were kicked out of the restaurant on Friday because they were the same race as the people who allegedly committed the crime.
Applebee’s officials in a statement Monday apologized for the restaurant’s actions and said they had fired the manager, server and another employee involved.
Applebee’s officials added they were temporarily closing the Independence restaurant, about 10 miles east of Kansas City, so that the staff could “regroup, reflect, learn and grow from this.”
“We are reaching out to the guests involved to apologize directly. We know rebuilding trust with those affected by the incident will take time, and we look forward to finding resolution in the coming days,” officials said.
The two women, at first, weren’t sure why they were approached at their table by an Independence police officer, a mall security guard and an Applebee’s employer. When the police officer tells them of the accusation, they say this was their first time dining at that Applebee’s location.
“Can we just pay for our food and leave, because we haven’t done anything?” one of the women asked.
When one of the woman appears to call someone for advice on what to do next, the officer asked the women why they were “getting worked up for nothing.”
“This is too much of an accusation to call it nothing,” one of the women responded.
One woman then broke down crying, and the officer laughed, asking if she was “really this emotional.” He then informed the women that the restaurant wanted them to pay for their food, leave and never return.
“We deal with this all the time. Black people in America gotta deal with this all the time,” one of the women later tells him and the restaurant staff, according to the video. “This is what black people have to deal with.”
Brison wrote on Facebook that she later found out that the server who accused her and her friend remembered the suspects were “a skinny girl and a girl who wore makeup.”
She went on: “This is a clear example of RACIAL PROFILING that should not be stood for. Just because we are black does not mean we are all criminals and I will not be treated as such.”