An Applebee’s franchise in Independence, Missouri, has fired three employees after two African-American women alleged they were victims of racial profiling at the restaurant.
Alexis Brison shared a video (below) of the incident on Facebook, saying she and her friend were shopping at the Independence Center when they were interrupted by a police officer, a mall security guard and a restaurant manager.
The restaurant’s staff accused the two girls of eating and leaving without paying the night before. The women strongly denied that claim. “We have not been here before. We’re just trying to enjoy our dinner,” Brison can be heard saying in the video, which she posted on Saturday. The video has been viewed over 2 million times as of Monday.
The police officer investigating continued to ask them questions, even laughing at her friend who was crying throughout the video. “This is what black people have to deal with,” Brison said in the video.
An Applebee’s employee in the video can be heard positively identifying the two women. However, the women say the server’s description of the dine-and-dashers was vague. Brison pointed out in her post that their accuser could not remember any defining characteristics about the women they believed did not pay for their meal.
“Our accuser remembered that there was a SKINNY girl and a girl who wore MAKEUP,” she wrote. “In 2018 is this really what we’re debased to? Our weight and whether or not we wore makeup. She could not recognize any facial features.”
Applebees released a statement on Monday night.
“After an internal investigation and in line with our values, the franchise terminated the manager, server and another employee involved in the incident,” it said.
— Applebee's (@Applebees) February 12, 2018
Applebees explained the restaurant had been closed. “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 for the team there to regroup, reflect, learn and grow from this,” they said.