What should have been a fun evening celebrating a woman’s birthday turned out to be anything but! On Wednesday night, Chauntyll Allen and Tyrone Williams sat down at Joe’s Crab Shack in Roseville, MN and saw a shocking photo embedded in their table. Allen, who is an African-American Studies student, realized immediately that it was a picture of a lynching.
The disturbing photo depicts a large group of white people watching the lynching of two black men. The bottom of the picture reads, “Hanging at Groesbeck, Texas on April 12, 1895,” and at the top of the picture, appearing to jokingly quote one man’s last words, it says, “All I said was that I didn’t like the gumbo.”
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,” Allen said.
The restaurant manager apologized and offered to pay for their meal, but Allen and Williams refused and vowed never to set foot in a Joe’s Crab Shack again.
Although the manager was apologetic about the lynching depiction, that does not change the fact that this sickening image of black men being lynched was intentionally embedded inside of a table,” Williams said. “This type of blatant racism should not be tolerated in this country, or in our local and national eating establishments. I have felt sick to my stomach and stressed out since seeing that image on the table where I was planning to eat my food.
The Minneapolis NAACP, in addition to demands of an apology from Joe’s Crab Shack’s corporate headquarters, asks that the company remove all imagery that might be considered racially offensive. They also asked that the company make a donation to a local community organization that serves African-American youths. This seems the very least they could do considering the offensive nature of their chosen table décor .
Joe’s Crab Shack released the following statement, but no mention of a community donation or whether they plan to check all locations for racist decor was made:
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.
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Featured image via WFAA