The power of social media put massive pressure on Applebee’s to take action against the staff at an Independence, Mo., restaurant. Two Black women recorded video footage of the restaurant manager, mall security, and an Independence police officer accusing them of eating there the night before and then skipping out on the check.
They were forced to pay for their food and kicked out leaving them embarrassed and humiliated. But after posting the video to Facebook and getting over 2 million views, three Applebee’s employees have been fired. And for now, the restaurant has been closed.
Alexis Brison and a friend of hers had been shopping at the Independence Center mall on Saturday and decided to stop in for a meal. The women had been dining for almost an hour when they were accused by the staff of theft. Restaurant employees called mall security and the police even after the women offered proof of their whereabouts the day before the incident. In her Facebook post, Brison said that she was certain the action was racially-motivated.
“Especially in Black History Month, Black people cannot continue to be treated this way,” Brison wrote in part. “About an hour into out dinner we were approached by a Independence police officer, a mall cop, and the restaurant manager. We were told that we were accused of eating and not paying for CHICKEN the day before (dining and dashing). Mind you that we have proof that can show our whereabouts and it’s not even in our character to steal. After being mocked, humiliated, and embarrassed we were asked to pay for our food, leave, and not come back. 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.”
Initially, Applebee’s upper management said that they didn’t have a reason to believe that race played a role in the incident. But after they conducted an investigation, the franchise owner fired the manager, a server, and a third employee. The company then issued a statement of apology.
Hey facebook friends and family I need your help reposting this. Especially in black history month black people cannot…
“After an internal investigation and in-line with our values, the franchisee terminated the manager, server and another employee involved in the incident” the statement reads in part. “We do not tolerate racism, bigotry or harassment of any nature, and we have taken additional steps to close the restaurant at this time in order for the team there to 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.”
The Independence Mall Applebee’s will remained closed until further notice.