A Black couple at a restaurant in suburban Detroit was called the N-word, and a Black woman said a server threw a drink after refusing to seat her at the bar, all while the restaurant staff did nothing.
Jerrick Jefferson told local station WJBK that a manager did nothing after a fellow customer hurled the slur at him and his wife at the J. Alexander restaurant in West Bloomfield, Mich.
“A gentleman from the bar area, a Chaldean gentleman, emerged from his seat and called us the N-word several times and started throwing food at us,” Jefferson told the station. “The manager basically said, ‘I’m walking away.’ Those were her exact words, ‘I’m walking away.’ She went up to talk to another manager. I approached both of them and I said, ‘Is there any reason why Black people in this restaurant can’t get any respect?’ ”
Jefferson said the appalling behavior did not end with him and his wife. He told the station that a Black female customer approached the managers and said one of the servers threw a drink after refusing to seat her at the bar until the rest of her party arrived.
Witness Cheryl Sutton, who is Black, said she could not believe Black customers would be treated that way by a business that they were patronizing.
“We were all shocked,” she said. “In fact, I talked with my girlfriend today and said, ‘Can you imagine we were sitting there that close dining with people who really felt that way about us?’ ”
A spokesman for the restaurant told WJBK that the restaurant extends apologies to the customers who witnessed the incident with the Jeffersons and also said it does not tolerate inappropriate behavior on the part of customers or employees.
Jefferson, however, said J. Alexander’s does indeed tolerate inappropriate behavior on the part of its staff as employees sought to hide the customer who uttered the N-word after police arrived.
“The employees of the restaurant hid the gentleman in the restaurant,” Jefferson told the station. “When the police went in there and when the police turned their back, the camera will show people ushering this guy out of the restaurant.”
The restaurant denied that its employees behaved as alleged.