Note – an earlier headline incorrectly labeled the restaurant as Buffalo Wild Wings, when in fact it was Wild Wing Café. Apologies to all for the error. /jk
Once again we are witnessing the true power of social media. You are hearing about this story because one man posted about his experience on Facebook at a Wild Wing Cafe in North Charleston, SC, where his friends and family suffered some “1960′s” style discrimination.
A group of 25 Black people waited two hours to get in a Wild Wing Cafe restaurant in North Charleston, South Carolina, only to be asked to leave almost immediately after entering the restaurant because a white customer felt “threatened” by their presence. One member of the group, MIchael Brown, took his complaint to Facebook when the corporate office of the restaurant did not call him back after placing several calls.
Mr. Brown says he was celebrating his cousin’s last day in Charleston last month at Wild Wing Cafe in North Charleston. He says after his party of 25 peacefully waited two hours for a table, the shift manager told them there was a “situation.”
“She said there’s a situation where one of our customers feels threatened by your party, so she asked us not to seat you in our section, which totally alarmed all of us because we’re sitting there peaceably for two hours,” explains Brown. “Obviously, if we were causing any conflict, we would have been ejected out of the place hours before.”
Brown says while he was talking to the shift manager, someone in his group began videotaping the conversation. Brown says that’s when the manager became upset and refused to seat them.
“I asked her I want to be clear with you,” says Brown. “I said so you’re telling me I have to leave. She said I have a right to deny you service. I said so you’re asking me to leave because you’re upset because he was recording you, after we’ve waited for two hours, and after you’ve already pretty much discriminated on us, and she answered yes.”
Brown told WNEM TV 5 news that several calls were made to the corporate office in Mt. Pleasant, but he says they did not receive a call back, so he posted about his experience on Facebook.
His Facebook post read, “I will never go to Wild wings cafe in N. Chs again! We (Party of 25 family and friends) waited 2hrs, patiently and were refused service because another customer (White) felt threatened by us. This type of racial discrimination is unacceptable and we have to put a STOP TO IT. The manager looked me dead in the face and said she was refusing us service because she had a right to and simply she felt like it. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS ESTABLISHMENT… PLEASE SHARE THIS POST… We need your help.”
Once his post went live and began to circulate around Facebook, he finally got a response from Wild Wings Cafe corporate office. ” We got alerted through social media, so we always encourage our customers to respond to us or to comment on our social media pages,” says Debra Stokes, the chief marketing officer for Wild Wing Cafe.
“We had a conversation,” says Stokes. “It was a really good conversation. He and many of his family and friends were there about a month ago, and they are regular customers of ours. So, they were having a going away party, and they just didn’t receive the experience that they have come to know and love.”
Brown says an apology was offered and a free meal for the entire group, but he says he’s not completely satisfied.
“We weren’t coming there for a free meal. When we came there that night, we were coming to patronize the business. This is not a situation where you can just give us a free meal and everything is ok because it’s deeper than that.”