Denny’s has apologized after one of its Florida locations turned away a group of black customers at the door.
The incident occurred last Friday at the Lake City Denny’s where Elijah Henderson Jr. went to dine with about 25 members of his church and was told that the restaurant was unable to accommodate them with only one cook and a cashier.
Henderson noted that the restaurant was packed with plenty of other people and watched as a family that arrived after him was seated. He said he felt he was being discriminated against and turned to Facebook Live to share his feelings.
In an interview with the Jacksonville news outlet, News4Jax, he said:
Is it the color of my skin? Because everybody else was eating and drinking, and she was, like, “I am not going to be able to accommodate you all.”
The employee who turned Henderson and his party away no longer works for the chain, and Denny’s was quick to issue a statement regarding the matter.
We were shocked by the unacceptable experience our guests received recently at our Lake City, Florida, location, and sincerely apologize. We simply do not tolerate discrimination of any kind in our restaurants.
Here’s the scoop via Twitter:
Denny's forced to apologize after denying a group of black churchgoers — then seating another family right after them https://t.co/d7bbMh2iWe
— Raw Story (@RawStory) August 13, 2018
Here’s a clip of Elijah Henderson Jr. discussing the incident with News4Jax outside of the Denny’s:
Commenters are planning to boycott the restaurant:
Denny's is now off my list of eating establishments. Will let others know at all Democratic meetings. @EternityGoW @DennysDiner @dennys_dineruk @MSNBC @CNN @brycetache @PolitiSearch @msfabu @2byIV @PoliticalDiscor @TeaPainUSA @RedTRaccoon @EdKrassen
— John (@benbrookjohn) August 14, 2018
That apology would be to my Attorney. As a condition of settling the LAWSUIT! #MakeRacismPay
— SophiaL (@SophiaLamar1) August 13, 2018
If they aren’t already:
Yall still eating at Denny's ?.. pic.twitter.com/OI2Ampiabv
— Robert (@lilbobby37) August 13, 2018
Because this isn’t the first time the chain has been accused of racism:
Denny's has always been racists. I remember boycotting them in Los Angeles 30 years ago!
— Nadirah Shakoor (@NadirahShakoor) August 14, 2018
At this point no black person should ever go to Denny's. Dennys has decades of established racism go somewhere else .
— Marc Murphy (@mnnurse10) August 13, 2018
Denny's again…. how many times does @DennysDiner want to be sued? Everyone just never go there.
— #TrumpFascism must be crushed (@SojournerNow) August 13, 2018
Some commenters shared their own negative personal experiences with the chain:
This is NOT new! @Dennys has always done things like this. I have boycotted them for years! My friends never believed me so one day I went with them, we were seated in the back by the kitchen door after a 40 min wait, food was cold and the server was EXTRA RUDE
— Kelley Cruse-Nicholson (@crusenic0213) August 14, 2018
— S Turner (@MsSauntee) August 13, 2018
This commenter reminded everyone about the importance of social media in these situations—to give voice and spread the word:
And this is why we need social media. Call it out. Say it is unacceptable.
— Marvin Perrott (@marvinperrott) August 13, 2018
Denny’s chief operating officer reached out to Henderson to apologize.
Henderson described his reaction to the call to News4Jax:
He was like, “Well, I work with a diversity department.” I was like, “Well, you guys have to do a little more work because it’s not working. What you’re doing may be working at corporate, but when it drizzles down and comes to the franchisees, it is not working.
In the interview, Henderson summed up his feelings with this statement:
They are wrong for how they treated us. Point blank, I don’t care what you look like, or where you come from, I just want equality.
Seems there is a clear message here, All of us should stay away from Denny's.
— Judith (@Judith73203393) August 13, 2018