Seafood chain Joe's Crab Shack has apologized for using a photo of a lynching as table decor.
Station KARE11 reports that, according to the NAACP of Minneapolis, Tyrone Williams and Chauntyll Allen were preparing to dine at Joe's Crab Shack in Roseville, a Twin Cities suburb. As they sat, they noticed a photo embedded in their table that showed a large group of white people watching a public execution of at least one black person. The bottom of the picture read: "Hanging at Groesbeck, Texas on April 12th 1895." The top caption read, "All I said was that I didn't like the gumbo."
"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," Williams said. "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."
Minneapolis Citypages reported that Williams asked if that same image might be posted in different Joe's Crab Shack restaurants, or just the Roseville location, but a representative "wouldn't give him a straight answer." Joe's Crab Shack's public relations was "incredulous" that the picture existed at all, Citypages said. "All our tables are blue," a rep told the paper.
The chain offered Williams a $100 gift certificate as recompense, but he turned it down, Citypages said; he and Allen are never eating there again.
"The thing is, we had gone there to escape," Williams said. "We're activists, and organizers, and we came to escape from what we endure, the systematic racism, on day to day basis. Unfortunately, we could not."
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.