Following a string of recent incidents involving black customers and police at Waffle House, Bernice King — the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. — is calling for a boycott of the beloved 24-hour diner chain.
Earlier this week, a video of a May 5 incident at a North Carolina Waffle House went viral after being posted to Facebook. The video shows a black man clad in a tuxedo being choked and slammed to the ground by a police officer. The man in the video, 22-year-old Anthony Wall, says staff called police after an employee cursed at him and his younger sister, who he had just taken to prom, for sitting at a table that hadn’t yet been cleaned, sparking an argument.
In April at a Waffle House in Alabama, 25-year-old Chikesia Clemons was tackled to the ground by police and arrested after she refused to pay an extra 50 cents for a set of plastic utensils. Protesters swarmed the restaurant after video of the violent incident was posted online.
King took to Twitter on Thursday to call for a boycott, urging people to avoid Waffle House until the company “seriously commits to” having a discussion on racism and training its employees.
Family, let’s stay out of @WaffleHouse until the corporate office legitimately and seriously commits to 1) discussion on racism, 2) employee training, and 3) other plans to change; and until they start to implement changes. https://t.co/NJWFOBKN7i— Be A King (@BerniceKing) May 10, 2018
Stories involving restaurant staff calling the police on customers have generated scores of headlines in recent weeks: In perhaps the most high-profile incident, two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks while waiting for a friend. Starbucks was quick to denounce the incident and has pledged to train its employees on racial bias, and is also changing its policy to allow non-customers to use the bathroom.
Meanwhile, Waffle House has defended its actions in the wake of the Alabama incident, saying in a statement that after reviewing security footage of the incident, “police investigation was appropriate.” The company says it is investigating the arrest in North Carolina.