The Italian restaurant chain Olive Garden has fired one of its outlet’s manager for complying with a customer’s request not to be served by black staff members.
What We Know:
- Amira Donahue, who was the hostess on duty, told ABC affiliate WEHT that the customer “asked for a server who wasn’t black”. “She should’ve been kicked out ASAP. But I guess the racist customer is more valuable than your black employees that were left in tears,” stated Amira Donahue
- Donahue also said that the disgruntled customer then made comments about her to a co-worker, “saying that I’m not family-friendly”. “I would never expect it to be so apparent in public like it’s 2020, not 1920 and I feel like it should take more than social media to get a problem like this out of here.”
- News of the incident sparked comments on social media with several posts on Facebook backing up the staff member’s accounts.
- Maxwell Robbins, who said he witnessed the ordeal, wrote that when the customer asked to speak with the manager, the manager agreed to ensure that the table would not be served by a person of color. Robbins said, “I felt the need to post that on Facebook because I do not think anyone would have stood up for those girls, they would’ve continued to go to work somewhere they were not comfortable”.
- Alex Bowles tweeted: “I ate at Olive Garden last night and it looks like that’ll be the last time. I have zero tolerance for racism or people in charge allowing it.”
- The manager who conceded to the request was fired within two days, after Olive Garden led an investigation into the matter. Olive Garden told HuffPost, “We have a zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind, and the manager involved no longer works for our company.”
- Robbins updated his post saying, “We got done what needed to be done and it shows that we will not stand for any racism around here! I love all of y’all and I just want to say she is the sweetest host I’ve ever met at any restaurant; I’m glad Olive Garden took care of her.”
The Evansville NAACP said it had not received a formal complaint but would investigate the claims. Its president Gerald Arnold told the Courier and Press: “I’m 76 years old so I’ve experienced a lot of racial biases. Today in 2020, it grabs you that…if in fact this is true, we’re still having to deal with those kinds of issues.”