Restaurant in hot seat after diners find lynching picture at dinner table

A Minnesota restaurant is under fire for an item of sick table decor — the depiction of a 19th century Texas hanging of at least one black man being witnessed by a large group of whites.

Tyrone Williams and Chauntyll Allen went to the Roseville, Minnesota, location of Joe’s Crab Shack to celebrate a birthday when they noticed the disturbing image embedded into their table top.

The bottom of the picture reads: “Hanging at Groesbeck, Texas on April 12th 1895.” At the top was the caption, “All I said was that I didn’t like the gumbo.”

hanging-photo
Source: KARE 11 News

Williams told local NBC affiliate KARE Channel 11 News that he waved over a manager.

“Although the manager was apologetic about the lynching depiction, that does not change the fact that this sickening image of black men being lynched was intentionally embedded inside of a table. 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,” Williams told the station.

“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. As you can imagine, seeing that image ruined my appetite and my pre-birthday dinner. It is hard to believe that this type of racism is still going on in 2016,” Allen put in.

The couple reported the incident to the local chapter of the NAACP.

“This disturbing incident that occurred at Joe’s Crab Shack demonstrates that racism is still alive and well in this country. It is sickening to know that someone would make a mockery of black men being savagely lynched and then use that imagery for decorative purposes in a restaurant,” said Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP.

The local NAACP chapter demands an immediate public apology, the removal of this or similar items of restaurant decor as well as a donation to a local organization that supports black youth and teens.

A Joe’s Crab Shack corporate spokesman released this statement:

We understand one of the photos used in our table décor at our Joe’s Crab Shack location in Roseville, MN was offensive,” said David Catalano, COO Ignite Restaurant Group, Joe’s Crab Shack parent company. “We take this matter very seriously, and the photo in question was immediately removed. We sincerely apologize to our guests who were disturbed by the image and we look forward to continuing to serve the Roseville community.

On Friday, the City of Roseville released its statement condemning the decor.

The City of Roseville was shocked and saddened to learn of the racist imagery being openly displayed at the Roseville location of national restaurant chain Joe’s Crab Shack. The City condemns this type of display in the strongest possible terms and calls on Joe’s Crab Shack to remove any and all racist imagery not only from its Roseville location, but all of its restaurants nationwide immediately. This type of display is wholly unacceptable and unwelcome in the City of Roseville.

 

Watch the report via KARE 11 News.

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