Three Applebee’s employees in Independence, MO have been fired following the release of footage that showed several staffers racially profiling Black customers. The short video clip has been viewed more than 2 million times online and has over 25,000 comments.
Alexis Brison posted a clip of the incident on Facebook along with a lengthy caption. It read it part:
“About an hour into our dinner we were approached by a [sic] Independence police officer, a mall cop, and the restaurant manager,” wrote Brison on Facebook. “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.”
According to Brison, she and her dining companion were asked to pay for their food, leave, and not come back after being mocked and humiliated. Eventually a police officer escorted the two women out of the restaurant. The ladies can be heard yelling and crying off camera.
“Just because we are Black does not mean we are all criminals and I will not be treated as such,” stated Brison in her Facebook post.
Applebees takes action
Following the intense public response and calls for a boycott, Applebee’s issued a statement noting that the three employees involved in the incident have been fired.
“We recognize the hurt and pain caused by the recent incident at an Applebee’s restaurant in Independence, Mo. We very much regret this occurred and sincerely apologize to our guests and community. After an internal investigation and in-line with our values, the franchisee terminated the manager, server and another employee involved in the incident. 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.”
According to Kansas City, MO news station KMBC, the Independence Applebee’s location where this incident occurred has been shut down and the two Black customers have obtained legal counsel.
Applebee’s is just the latest example of companies accused in incidents of alleged racial profiling after a video goes viral. An Old Navy in Utah recently fired three employees for racially profiling a Black customer after video of the event garnered immense social media attention.