A group of 25 African Americans waited two hours to get in a Wild Wing Cafe restaurant in North Charleston, South Carolina, only to be asked to leave almost immediately after entering the restaurant because a white patron felt “threatened” by them. One member of the group took his complaint to Facebook when the corporate office of the restaurant did not call him back.
Michael Brown was one of those 25 customers. They were there to send off Brown’s cousin, who was leaving the Charleston area. After finally being seated after the two hour wait, the shift manager came to the table and told the group that there was a “situation.”
According to Brown:
She (the shift manager) said there’s a situation where one of our customers feels threatened by your party, so she asked us not to seat you in our section, which totally alarmed all of us because we’re sitting there peaceably for two hours. Obviously, if we were causing any conflict, we would have been ejected out of the place hours before.
A member of Brown’s group then begin to videotape the situation. That’s when the shift manager asked them to leave and refused to seat them.
As Brown explained:
I asked her – I want to be clear with you. I said, so you’re telling me I have to leave. She said I have a right to deny you service. I said so you’re asking me to leave because you’re upset because he was recording you, after we’ve waited for two hours, and after you’ve already pretty much discriminated on us, and she answered yes.
Brown said that he called the Wild Wing Cafe corporate office several times, and did not get a response. That’s when he and others in his group decided to publicize the racial discrimination that his group received on Facebook.
On Mike London’s Facebook page, this was posted:
I will never go to Wild wings cafe in N. Chs again! We (Party of 25 family and friends) waited 2hrs, patiently and were refused service because another customer (White) felt threatened by us. This type of racial discrimination is un acceptable and we have to put a STOP TO IT. The manager looked me dead in the face and said she was refusing us service because she had a right to and simply she felt like it. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS ESTABLISHMENT… PLEASE SHARE THIS POST.. We need your help.
Someone from Wild Wing Cafe finally responded when they were alerted on Facebook. “We got alerted through social media, so we always encourage our customers to respond to us or to comment on our social media pages,” says Debra Stokes, the chief marketing officer for Wild Wing Cafe.
On the Wild Wing Cafe North Charleston Facebook page, the following status was posted:
In light of recent discussions, we would like to make clear that Wild Wing Cafe welcomes and caters to customers of every background, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or age. We are proud to be a place where people from all walks of life can meet, relax and have a good time. Our corporate policy and ethics won’t stand for anything otherwise. We have been in contact with the person who has made us aware his experience was less than satisfactory, and are continuing to speak with him to reach a solution.
Nearly 300 comments had been made in response to the post as of press time.
Brown said that an apology was issued, as well as a free meal for the entire group, but he says he’s not satisfied.
We weren’t coming there for a free meal. When we came there that night, we were coming to patronize the business. This is not a situation where you can just give us a free meal and everything is ok because it’s deeper than that.
Indeed it is deeper than that. There was NO REASON for these people to be refused service and otherwise treated this way. Please share this, and feel free to respond on the Wild Wings Cafe North Charleston Facebook page linked above.
And you can contact the Wild Wings Corporate Office as well.
UPDATE: An employee of the restaurant who was working that evening provides her viewpoint on what happened. She preferred to remain anonymous.
Watch the local news story below from WNEM.
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