Red Lobster Suspends Victim Waitress After Racist Attack (Update)
Update: A Red Lobster spokesperson wrote to our publication tonight 9/13/13 to clarify that waitress Toni Christina Jenkins has not missed any work at the restaurant. She was placed on a “brief paid leave” by the restaurant but it did not result in her missing any of her shifts, according to the spokesperson. The spokesperson also reiterated that Red Lobster is “disgusted” at the language used on the receipt, and that the company is working to determine exactly what happened in the incident.
Original article below:
The Daily Mail UK reports that a Red Lobster in Nashville Tennessee has suspended a waitress after she was the victim of a written racist attack. 19 year old Toni Christina Jenkins was working her regular shift when she picked up a receipt from her table and found the words “None N*****” written in the tip section. Jenkins went home that evening and posted a picture of the receipt along with a status update that read “This is what I got as a tip last night…so happy to live in the proud southern states. God Bless America, land of the free and home of the low class racists of Tennessee.”
Jenkins says that both people in the couple, a man and woman who appeared to be in their 20’s, were acting rather strangely, and that when she approached them to begin the order, they didn’t respond to her. Jenkins told the Daily Mail:
They were extremely rude, but I introduced myself to them and they didn’t respond. When I came to take their order they simply told me they wanted their food and to put everything in a to-go box. I offered them dessert but they told me abruptly that they just wanted the check.
While Red Lobster claims they are “extremely disturbed” by the incident, their unrest has not stopped them from suspending Jenkins, who will receive pay during the time she is not allowed to work. Red Lobster claims they will investigate the racist attack during the time Jenkins is suspended.
The reason for her suspension, Red Lobster says, is because she violated company policy when she posted the receipt on social media. The case is extremely similar to the Applebees case a few months back when waitress Chelsea Welch posted a receipt she received with a note in the tip section. That note, however, was not a racist attack, but more of a stingy attack. The customer, Pastor Alois Bell, had written “I give God 10%, why do you get 18%?” Then in the section where the total should be, Bell had placed a large 0 with a slash through it.
That case garnered national attention after Applebees fired Welch for the same reason-“violating company policy.” The action prompted a huge boycott of the restaurant, and a cacophonous outcry on social media.
The Jenkins case is getting some attention, but not the extent of the Applebees case, raising questions among some whether the racist nature of the attack on the receipt is reflective of a larger problem of racism within the United States.
Red Lobster has said that they condemn the racist attack and that they are taking the incident “extremely seriously.” They also called the language used on the receipt “disgusting.” They say they will find out exactly what occurred between the customers and Jenkins.
Meanwhile, Jenkins is now the subject of some discussion about possible fraud over the incident. A commenter on her Facebook page has accused her of faking the racist attack on the receipt, saying that perhaps Jenkins is the one who is racist against whites and that she forged the message in the tip section. That commenter along with a few others have pointed out the differences in handwriting between the signature on the receipt and the racist message scrawled in the tip section.
Jenkins stands by her story and insists she is the victim in the situation.
By: Rebecca Savastio