Joe’s Crab Shack Under Fire for Using Image of a Lynching as Table Décor

A Minnesota family complained after they found a photo of a hanged black man embedded in their table at Joe’s Crab Shack

A public hanging? Not the type of imagery you want to see when you’re dining out.

No one asked for the impromptu graphic history lesson. A black family in Roseville, Minnesota, was shocked when they found an image of a group of white people watching the public hanging of a black man, embedded in their tabletop décor in a Joe's Crab Shack.

The caption on the photo read, "Hanging at Groesbeck, Texas on April 12th 1895. All I said was that I didn't like the gumbo."

After complaining about the offensive image to a manager, the restaurant franchise apologized for their experience, but the family didn’t think that was enough:

"Seeing a picture of two black men being lynched was the last thing that I expected to see at what was supposed to be a family-friendly restaurant,” customer Chauntyll Allen told local news station KARE11. “As you can imagine, seeing that image ruined my appetite and my pre-birthday dinner. It is hard to believe that this type of racism is still going on in 2016.”

Joe’s Crab Shack corporate headquarters sent out the following statement:

"We understand one of the photos used in our table décor at our Joe’s Crab Shack location in Roseville, MN was offensive," said David Catalano, COO Ignite Restaurant Group, Joe's Crab Shack parent company. "We take this matter very seriously, and the photo in question was immediately removed. We sincerely apologize to our guests who were disturbed by the image and we look forward to continuing to serve the Roseville community.”


Roseville city officials also sent out a statement condemning the racist content, and asked that all restaurants in the area make sure to review their own restaurant décor.