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Is Darden Restaurants Black CEO Okay with Red Lobster Suspension Over N-Word?

Racist Receipt

The Huffington Post reported that Tori Christina Jenkins was suspended with pay by a Darden Restaurant chain, Red Lobster, after her father posted a photo of a receipt that his daughter, a waitress at their Franklin, Tennessee location, allegedly received with the words “None N**ger” scrawled over the tip line.

What they didn’t report, is the jaw-dropping wonder as to why Darden’s 57 year old CEO, Clarence Otis, Jr. amazingly has not stood by the employee.

Otis, a graduate of Stanford Law, Williams College, and Stanford University is also blackClarence Otis Jr, and was raised in Vicksburg, Mississippi during the height of the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s.

Ms. Jenkins is suspended with pay, and apparently, oddly, still working while suspended, according to HuffPo. We wouldn’t want to pay her to sit at home for “suspending” her, now would we?

Her father, who posted the photo and a comment on his facebook page, is not an employee of Darden. He exercised his First Amendment rights to post that photo.  His comment was that he hoped people seeing it would realize:

“[T]hat we still have much ignorance to overcome.”

Otis should be much more attuned to this problem than many major American corporate CEOS, and, as a lawyer himself, might be vaguely familiar with the First Amendment, and the notion that parents’ free speech rights should not attach consequences to their children.

Corporate policies against trashing employers on the web are becoming part of the long stock policy list at most food and retail outlets.  They also do it to keep employees from taking those pictures that pop up from restaurant chains of health-code violations like food improperly stored or pest control problems as a way of shaming the employer into making improvements.

This is not that situation though. Jenkins father made no negative comment about Darden or Red Lobster. If Darden had chosen to take the high road, and ban the cheap red-neck from Red Lobster who wrote this hateful scrawl on the receipt rather than leave a tip, Red Lobster would have come out smelling like a red rose.

Jenkins father is right. If his daughter can’t get an immediate fair shake from a restaurant chain run by one of the top black American CEOs when a disgusting racist wanders into one of his backwater McSeafooderies, then we shouldn’t expect much from companies whose corporate overlords come from far more silver spoon upbringings.

My shiny two.

Let Darden know what you think.

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About Brian Ross

Brian Ross is a writer, screenwriter, political satirist, documentarian and short filmmaker who blogs for Truth2Power, the Huffington Post, and the Daily KOS, among others.

3 comments on “Is Darden Restaurants Black CEO Okay with Red Lobster Suspension Over N-Word?

  1. richard blair
    September 14, 2013

    how do you know she did not write the comment to get attention and not the customer, you don’t and i think it is a stunt just to garner attention, even the so called red neck as you call them is a racist comment, so start practicing what you preach don’t start spouting names and making yourselves look bad.

  2. m. roberts
    September 22, 2013

    That Ms. Jenkins was “suspended” due to her father’s Facebook post is ridiculous. That the collective “we” actually believes that there is anything we can do to eradicate the neanderthal thinking of the person who wrote “none nigger” in the tip portion of the receipt, and the thinking of others like him/her, is even more ridiculous. Some people will continue to be racists, bigots and misogynists. We can expect that these things not be tolerated as policy in our government and that our laws be applied to everyone equally and fairly. We cannot, however, regulate the hearts of men any more than we can regulate from which direction the sun rises and sets.

    • Brian Ross
      September 22, 2013

      It’s not a question of regulation. So often commenters are attacking the wrong target. It’s a question of corporate policy and human rights. If I own a restaurant, and one of my patrons walks in and leaves that, they’re not welcome in my establishment again. Over the course of history, it has been making socially unacceptable control and power behaviors, from bullying to racism to fascist invasion, that has distinguished us at our better moments. You can’t regulate it, but you can reward companies that stand behind their employees, and the kind of place they want for their customers and/or consumers.

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