An Applebee’s restaurant in Missouri is being temporarily closed after two black women were falsely accused of “dining and dashing” a day earlier.
Police were called to the Independence restaurant after a server said she was “almost positive” the two women dining had walked out without paying for their meal the night before — even though the women argued they had never before stepped foot in the joint.
In a video posted to Facebook on Saturday — which had been viewed more than 3.7 million times as of Wednesday — a restaurant manager, a mall security guard and a police officer confront the customers, Alexis Brinson, and an unidentified friend over the allegation.
“We were told that we were accused of eating and not paying for CHICKEN the day before (dining and dashing),” Brinson wrote on Facebook. “Mind you that we have proof that can show our whereabouts and it’s not even in our character to steal. After being mocked, humiliated and embarrassed, we were asked to pay for our food, leave and no come back.”
At one point during the 9-minute clip, one of the women asks to simply pay their check and just be allowed to leave the restaurant, but an officer isn’t satisfied by that suggestion, according to the video.
“Let’s do a little role reversal here, put yourself in my shoes here,” the officer replied. “What would you do?”
The officer later tells the women that they were “getting worked over nothing,” to which one of them replied: “This is too much of an accusation to call it nothing because we have not been here.”
A woman on the video – an Applebee’s server – is then heard saying she was “almost positive,” an apparent reference that she believed the woman had in fact been at the restaurant before and left without paying for their meals.
“In 2018 is this really what we’re debased to?” Brison wrote. “ … 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.”
One of the women also said on the video that the accusation shows “what black people in America” have to deal with on a regular basis.
Later in the video, the women paid their bill before leaving the restaurant while promising to file a complaint. They also asked for the server’s name on their way out.
In a statement later posted to Facebook, Applebee’s said it fired the manager, server and another employee involved in the altercation.
“We recognize the hurt and pain caused by the recent incident at an Applebee’s restaurant in Independence, Mo.,” the statement read. “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 to regroup, reflect, learn and grow from this.”
Applebee’s said it was also reaching out to Brinson and her friend to apologize directly.
“We know rebuilding trust with those affected by the incident will take time, and we look forward to finding resolution in the coming days,” the statement concluded.
The Independence Police Department had not returned several requests for comment as of late Tuesday, the Kansas City Star reported. Attorneys for Brinson and her friend, identified by the newspaper as Asia Hardy, had no comment on the restaurant’s closure, according to the newspaper.