ROSEVILLE, Minn. - A Roseville restaurant is under fire for an image found on a dining table depicting a hanging.
The Minneapolis NAACP says Tyrone Williams and Chauntyll Allen were preparing to dine at Joe's Crab Shack Wednesday night when they noticed a photo embedded inside the table top. The image appears to show a large group of white people watching a public execution of at least one black person.
On the bottom of the picture, it reads: "Hanging at Groesbeck, Texas on April 12th 1895." At the top, the caption reads, "All I said was that I didn't like the gumbo."
Williams said the pair immediately waved down 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," said Williams.
"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 added.
"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 Minneapolis NAACP is demanding an immediate public apology by the corporate offices of Joe's Crabshack; immediate removal "of any and all lynching or otherwise racially-offensive imagery" from its restaurants; and a donation to a local community-based organization that serves African American youths and teenagers.
When contacted about the incident, a spokesman for Joe's Crab Shack released a 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.”
The city of Roseville issued its own statement Friday, calling on the restaurant chain to make sure this type of imagery is not displayed anywhere else.
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.