While vintage photographs often do accent a restaurant to give it a comfortable, eating-in-Grandma’s-kitchen type of vibe, Joe’s Crab Shack completely missed the mark - unfortunately in one of the most offensive - and highly unacceptable - ways possible.
One of its branches, in Minneapolis, Minn., had incorporated an old-timey photograph, taken in 1895, in its decor, but the image itself was horrific, showing a public execution.
The photo of a lynching that took place in Groesbeck, Texas, also featured an edit to include a caption that read, “All I said was, ‘I don’t like the gumbo!’” in reference to why the two Black men depicted in the photo were being executed publicly.
Nope. Not okay.
As reported, customers Tyrone Williams and Chauntyll Allen helped bring this atrocity to the headlines, when the image captured their attention while dining last week on Thursday, March 10th.
“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, while Williams added, “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.”
In a press conference that occurred the next day outside of the restaurant, Williams said that the manager of the establishment was understanding and apologetic in his response, and the company would be working to remove the table as soon as possible.
Nekima Levy-Pounds, chapter president of the NAACP’s Minneapolis division commented on the tables, saying that since the tables are “uniquely made,” there was some intentionality on the part of the person who designed them.”
The COO of the restaurant’s parent company, Ignite Restaurant Group, David Catalano, issued an apology statement, saying, “We sincerely apologize to our guests who were disturbed by the image and we look forward to continuing to serve the Roseville community.”
Check out footage from the restaurant from the press release below.
(Photo: Bill Boch)