Waffle House is back in the hot seat again as activist organizations are urging Black people and members of the LGBTQ community to get their waffles elsewhere.
The boycott call comes from several civil rights organizations including Women’s March, the National Black Justice Coalition and 100 Black Men. As word circulated about the boycott, Women’s March also announced plans for a rally Friday outside of the Waffle House headquarters located outside of the of 5986 Financial Drive NW in Norcross, GA slated for 10 a.m. ET, according to Women’s March.
The activist organizations calling for the boycott has cited two incidents in particular, which drew nationwide attention after video circulated via social media.
The first includes an incident that occurred in April 2018 where police in Saraland, Ala., exposed customer Chikesia Clemons’ breasts after responding to a call regarding a dispute at a local Waffle House. A staffer at the restaurant allegedly attempted to charge the 25-year-old woman 50 cents for normally free plastic cutlery. Police can be seen on cell phone video choking Clemons and threatened to break her arm during the encounter.
Clemons was arrested, but Waffle House has yet to drop the criminal charges.
!!!!!!PLEASE SHARE & JOIN!!!!! This Friday I will be in Georgia standing with Chikesia Clemons. We didn’t forget! @wafflehouseofficial is complicit in the abuse of our sister and we will not stop until they 1. Apologize… 2. Call for the criminal charges against Chikesia to be dropped. 3. Implement training that addresses the behavior that caused two major incidents of abuse by law enforcement (research Anthony Wall’s case…I will share more details shortly).
The second high-profile incident occurred in May 2018 when customer Anthony Wall asked a Waffle House employee in Warsaw, N.C. to wipe down a recently vacated table and was called a homophobic slur in response. An ensuing verbal exchange prompted another employee to engage a panic button to alert police. An officer can be seen on video pinning Wall, 22, to the restaurant wall and slammed him onto the concrete pavement.
Wall was charged with resisting arrest.
After both incidents, Waffle House spokeswoman Pat Warner suggested there might be reason to believe there was a need for police to be alerted.
The latest incident involves a Black couple who were handcuffed and had Tasers pointed at them after disputing charges with an employee for a container of orange juice on their Fort Walton Beach, Florida Waffle House bill.
Justice for the victims
Activist Tamika Mallory, co-president of Women’s March, issued a statement condemning the restaurant.
“As Black women and as mothers, we are tired of seeing our sons and daughters being brutally assaulted,” Mallory said in the statement. “Having charges filed against Chikesia and Anthony is victim blaming at its worst. We will stand with them until the charges are dropped and until Waffle House takes responsibility for its role in the abuse of these two young people.”
David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, expressed his concern as well.
“Minority populations are routinely facing discrimination in our society and this reality is compounded when one has several intersecting minority identities like being Black and LGBTQ/SGL; however, we do not have to – and will not – support any business, Waffle House included, as long as the organization and its leadership continues to show a lack of respect for the basic civil rights of all human beings.”
Bernice King, daughter of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. and CEO of The King Center has also urged the public to boycott Waffle House right after viewing the disturbing video of Wall’s neck being choked and body slammed at the restaurant. King tweeted that the public should stop patronizing the chain that has been the scene of several racist incidents so far this year.
Family, let’s stay out of @WaffleHouse until the corporate office legitimately and seriously commits to 1) discussion on racism, 2) employee training, and 3) other plans to change; and until they start to implement changes. https://t.co/NJWFOBKN7i
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) May 10, 2018
Women’s March has suggested that members of the public contact Waffle House and demand criminal charges be dropped against both Wall and Clemons and that the company issue an apology to them both. They also want Waffle House to address the behavior that caused the incidents of abuse by law enforcement.
Waffle House did not immediately respond to requests via Twitter to be put in touch with its press office.
The restaurant chain’s website, was down on Thursday afternoon and a note informed the public that maintenance was being performed.