KARE 11 News reports that a Joe’s Crab Shack in Roseville, Minnesota is facing backlash for an image depicting a lynching found on a dining table last Wednesday.
According to the Minneapolis NAACP, diners Tyrone Williams and Chauntyll Allen were preparing to eat when they noticed the photo embedded within the table top. The image appears to depict a large group of white individuals watching the execution of at least one black individual. The picture is labeled “Hanging at Groesbeck, Texas on April 12th 1895”, while the caption reads “All I said was that I didn’t like the gumbo.”
Though the pair immediately called for a manager – who was deeply apologetic – both Williams and Allen find this blatant demonstration of racism intolerable. Allen commented, "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."
ABC News reports that the couple later learned the identity of the man in the photo: Richard Burleson, hung at age 21 after he was found guilty of robbing and murdering a white man in Groesbeck, Texas. The Death Penalty Information Center documents this execution as a legal one, though a spokeswoman told ABC News that “death penalty laws” then differed vastly from laws now.
A spokesman from Joe’s Crab Shack released the following 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 Minneapolis NAACP is currently demanding both an apology and the removal of racially-offensive imagery, as well as a donation to a community-based organization that serves black youths.
The city of Roseville released the following statement on Friday:
"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."
The Joe’s Crab Shack in Roseville has directed all inquiries about the image to their parent company Ignite Restaurant Group, who offered the following statement on Thursday, "We understand one of the photos used in our table décor at our Joe’s Crab Shack location in Roseville, MN, was offensive."
Photo credit: fox9.com