The Nashville location of the upscale steakhouse chain Morton's is under fire after a slew of Yelp reviews popped up accusing the restaurant of mistreating a cancer patient for wearing a wool hat. Three reviews — one by Jason M., one by Amanda W., and one by Ashley S. — all share variations on the same story. A group of 16 out for a company holiday party included a man undergoing chemotherapy, who at the end of their meal decided to put on a wool beanie to keep warm. A manager asked that he talk it off (which he did). And then things got kind of ugly.
According to the three reviews, after the manager was informed that the diner, Robert Chambers, needed the cap for medical reasons, she told the party that he'd need a doctor's note to wear the hat. Chambers left, along with his family. And then, it seems, the police showed up. According to Jason M.:
After the rest of us complained - get this - MORTON'S CALLED THE POLICE ON US. We were not unruly, and quite civil given the absolute rudeness of the management. I was told by a manager that the police officer was just casually patrolling the area and came in, but I was told later that was a total lie.
Incidentally, the Morton's dress code as written on their website doesn't explicitly say you can't wear hats inside the restaurant. The chain responded to the incident yesterday on their Facebook page by saying they would investigate the situation:
Morton's has since apologized for the incident, and announced they will donate $2,000.00 to the St. Jude's Hospital in Chambers' name, as well as "partner[ing] with Mr. Chambers to underwrite a cancer fundraiser."
Chambers also posted a statement online:
I just had a 30 minute conversation with Morton's COO Tim Whitlock. He and I talked about Friday night, and the unfortunate events. He was very apologetic and we had a good discussion. End result, Morton's will make a donation in the amount of our check to St Jude's Children's Hospital. Apology accepted time too be on. I have more important things to fight than Morton's. Thanks to all of you for your words of support and angst over the situation. It's about empathy and how people are treated regardless of the situation. Again thanks for the support.
For whatever it's worth, a manager of the Nashville Morton's told NewChannel5 that the "group was asked to leave because one of the members of the party insulted a restaurant employee."
As is typical with these sort of Yelp-fueled controversies, the restaurant's rating has taken a hit. As of posting, they have 44 one star reviews, the most of any rating. And as a trending chart from Yelp shows, this dip in ratings is a new development.