A Tennessee man is suing Red Lobster and the waitress who serviced him for a total of $1 million. Devin Barnes has accused the chain and its server, 19-year-old Toni Christina Jenkins, for slandering his name after an alleged racist receipt went viral.
Barnes and his wife visited a Red Lobster Restaurant in Franklin, Tennessee on September 7, 2013. They planned on dining in but due to a family emergency had to change the status of their order to carry out. Once the food was ready Barnes paid the $44.53 receipt and wrote “none” on the line requesting a tip. A few days afterwards the server, Toni, posted the signed receipt to her Facebook page but the version she posted was allegedly altered. The receipt Toni made public displayed Barnes’ full name and had “None N**ger” on the tip line as opposed to “none.”
Along with the “racist” receipt Toni wrote the words,
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.
Barnes said he did not write the racist slur on the receipt although he does not dispute that he left no tip. The 20-year-old victim says he was wrongly labeled as a racist by people who do not know him and are only going by what the server posted online. Barnes said he knows he is not a racist; he does not see color and has many mixed friends. However, he is being viewed and treated as one and according to Barnes, “No one should go through this without warrant.”
In order to prove his innocence Barnes hired a renowned forensic handwriting expert to compare the writing on the guest check with samples supplied by him and his wife. Thomas Vastrick, the expert, concluded,
There is evidence to indicate that neither Devin Barnes nor his wife wrote the total entry. No significant handwriting characteristic similarities were noted.
The lawsuit alleges a willful and malicious act, slander and unlawful release of Barnes’ information on the internet. On last Thursday the lawsuit was filed in Williamson County, Tennessee in a circuit court. Barnes’ attorney, Richard Dugger, said there are three major things that have been done incorrectly here. First, whoever forged the receipt is very wrong. Second, posting it all over the world is very wrong. Lastly, Red Lobster’s silence was very wrong; they did nothing to put an end to it.
Red Lobster supposedly suspended the server for violating company policy by posting the receipt online. She removed the image from her Facebook page several days later but the “fraudulent” receipt has continued to circulate through the airwaves. Toni has since returned to work but Barnes said he is still suffering from her actions.
After Toni posted the receipt a California man immediately took action. Founder of AddictingInfo.org, Matthew Hanson, started an online fundraiser for her called “Tips for Toni” which raised $10,749 for the server. Hanson said it was about sending a message to racists everywhere that Americans are no longer going to tolerate it. People from around the globe contributed and the funds were raised within 72 hours.
Hanson presented the check to Toni on September 30. She knew nothing about the fundraiser and said she was so confused but very thankful. Toni said she felt honored and blessed that so many people would come together on her behalf.
Barnes said it is not fair that Toni would profit off the slur, which never happened. He claims the incident has unjustly damaged his reputation. He has received bullying comments and threats from around the world since the image went viral.
The 20-year-old Tennessee man is suing Red Lobster and one of their servers for $1 million. Devin Barnes has accused Toni Christina Jenkins and Red Lobster Restaurant for slandering his name after their server posted an alleged racist receipt which went viral.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)