An African American woman claims she was discriminated against while dining at a Detroit-area J. Alexander’s restaurant last week.
Lia Gant claims she was asked to give up her seat to a white man and refused service last Thursday (June 20). The incident began when a white bartender reportedly asked Gant and her friend to give up their seats at the bar for two white men. When she refused, the bartender took Gant’s drink and poured it down the sink.
“I immediately got up and went to management and she said I shouldn’t be upset because the drink wasn’t thrown on me,” Gant said during a press conference. She says she paid the bill after the manager refused to remove the drink.
Gant was joined at the press conference by her attorney Maurice Davis and Jerrick Jackson, another patron at the restaurant who claims he was called the N-word after he complained to management about the poor service.
“We refuse to backslide into a nation where Black people are told to give up their seat to white people, where Black people are denied services at restaurants,” Davis said.
The trio is calling for the termination of all employees involved in the incident. Video of part of the incident was captured by Gant. You can see a white customer yelling at Jackson and food being hurled at him.
Prior to the incident, Jackson and Gant say they did not know each other. J. Alexander’s has since issued a statement on the matter. They deny their staff acted in any racist matter toward any patrons that day, claiming, "Our staff made every responsible effort to safely diffuse this incident in the face of profanity and acts of misbehavior directed at them. None of our employees used profanity, made racial remarks or threw food but certain guests did. Ironically, two of those guests involved in this incident have falsely accused our staff of racial discrimination."
They also says they handed over surveilance footage to local police and are awaiting "a report on their investigation and their determination as to whether any formal charges related to this behavior are warranted."
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