Three employees were fired after an incident at an Applebee’s near Independence, Missouri, left two customers feeling racially profiled. Alexis Brison and Asia Hardy were eating dinner together when a police officer came to their table to talk to them about an incident that happened the day before in which two women who allegedly looked like them left without paying for their food.
But according to a social media post detailing the encounter, the accuser’s description of the alleged crooks was very vague.
“The manager stated that our accuser remembered that there was a SKINNY girl and a girl who wore MAKEUP. In 2018 is this really what we’re debased to? Our weight and whether or not we wore makeup. She could not recognize any facial features or any defining characteristics,” Brison wrote on Facebook. “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.”
Cell phone footage of the incident showed a back and forth between the cop, Brison, and a visibly distraught Hardy, who repeatedly states that she and her friend hadn’t been in the restaurant at the time of the alleged crime.
“Is she normally this emotional?” the cop laughed. “Wow. Does she normally talk like this?”
Eventually, a manager asked that the women to pay for their food, leave, and never return.
In an email, an Applebee’s spokesperson told The Daily Meal: “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.”
The company is also reaching out to the customers involved to apologize directly.
The Daily Meal has reached out to Independence Police Department for comment. But this isn’t the first time that a chain restaurant has been at the center of controversy. We’ve rounded up 10 other PR nightmares for chain restaurants.