Restaurant Refused To Service Black Patrons After White Customer Felt ‘Threatened’

August 26, 2013  |  

It’s sometimes hard to believe that things like this still happen.

Michael Brown, a 24-year-old South Carolina man, is speaking out after he and his family were unfairly treated during a celebratory outing at the Wild Wing Cafe in Charleston. According to Brown, last month he and a group, comprised of 25 family members and friends, visited the Wild Wing Cafe to celebrate the going away of his cousin, who was relocating. He told Live 5 News reporters that after waiting nearly two hours for a table, he was informed by the restaurant’s shift manager that the restaurant was having difficulty servicing his party because one of the patrons—who happened to be white— expressed that she felt ‘threatened’ by his party.

“She said, ‘You know, there’s a situation where one of customers feels threatened by your party, so she asked us not to sit you in their section.’ This totally alarmed all of us because we’re sitting there peaceably for two hours, obviously. If we were causing any conflict, we would’ve been ejected out of the place,” Brown said.

Things got even uglier when a member of Brown’s party began video taping the conversation he was having with the shift manager. According to Brown, at this point, the manager got upset and refused to service or seat the party.

“I said, ‘I wanna be clear. You’re telling me I have to leave?’ And she said, ‘I have the right to deny you service.’ I said, ‘So you’re asking me to leave because you’re upset that he was recording you, after we’ve been waiting for two hours and after you’ve already pretty much discriminated against us?’ And she answered, ‘yes,'” he continued.

Following the incident, Brown says that he made multiple calls to the restaurant’s corporate office, but when none of his calls were returned, he took to Facebook to publicly address his grievances. The detailed post reads:

“I will never go to Wild Wings Cafe in N. Chs. again! We (party of 25 family members and friends) waited 2 hours, patiently, and were refused service because another customer (white) felt threatened by us. This type of racial discrimination is unacceptable and we have to put  a stop to it. The manager looked me dead in my face and said she was refusing us service because she had a right to and she simply felt like it. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS ESTABLISHMENT. PLEASE SHARE THIS POST. We need your help.”

The post quickly went viral, acquiring over 3,000 shares, which prompted the restaurant to respond via Facebook.

“We got alerted through social media and we always encourage our customers to respond to us and comment on our social media pages,” said Debra Stokes, the company’s chief marketing officer.

“We have a conversation, it was a really good conversation. He and many of his family and friends were there. They’re regular customers of ours. They were having a going away party and they just didn’t receive the service that they’ve come to know and love about Wild Wings Cafe,” Stokes continued.

Brown says the restaurant offered an apology and a free meal, but he doesn’t feel that it was a sincere gesture because the company didn’t attempt to address the issue until he went public with his complaints.

“We didn’t go there for a free meal. We were coming to patronize their business. This is not a situation where you can just give us a free meal and everything is okay. It’s deeper than that,” she said.


Turn the page to watch Live 5 News’s full report. Thoughts?

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