Police "welcome" students to St. Louis with racial profiling
IHOP under fire for alleged racial profiling incident
Not the IHOP in question.
- Monmouth, Maine, resident Avery Gagne recently wrote on Facebook about witnessing what he believes was a racially-motivated instance of discrimination at an IHOP in Auburn, Maine.
- Gagne said that a group of black teenagers, including one wearing a hijab, were asked to pay in advance for their meals in order to prevent them from walking out.
- Now, IHOP is apologizing, closing that particular store to retrain its employees, and hoping to apologize to the teenagers directly.
It's all too common that incidents and allegations of racism are found in customer service, particularly through acts of racial profiling.
This week, Avery Gagne — a teenager from Monmouth, Maine — took to Facebook to write about his own experience witnessing what he says was an act of racial profiling at an Auburn, Maine, IHOP. Gagne's post went viral and in the end, it has led to such uproar that the restaurant closed down in the hopes of re-training its employees to prevent any other racially-charged incidents.
Gagne said that he went to IHOP on March 11 with his parents and as they finished up their meals, a group of teenagers sat down near them. Gagne said that the teens ordered their food and were not "rude or disrespectful," and a few minutes later, he said that their server asked the group if they would pay upfront, explaining it away as a "new generation thing."
Gagne said he felt uncomfortable. Though the teenagers, all of whom he said were black and one of whom was wearing a hijab, agreed to the unusual request, he decided to say something.
In response to the family's complaints, Gagne claimed the server said she was told to ask the teens to pay beforehand in order to prevent "walkouts." Later, she said that it was "not because of their color," according to Gagne, though neither he and his family nor any of the tables around them were also asked to pay in advance.
Gagne said that the "worst thing about all of this" is that one of the teenagers turned to the family and told them it was OK.
"No. It's not okay," Gagne wrote. "This is NOT okay. I will not stand for this."
Others apparently felt the same way and at the time of this writing, his Facebook post had over 2,000 shares and 2,000 reactions.
INSIDER reached out to Gagne for comment but he did not immediately respond. His post has elicited such strong emotions that IHOP itself has responded to the incident, promising changes.
Also not the IHOP in question. Hollis Johnson
As flagged by The Daily Meal, the manager of the Auburn IHOP, Melvin Escobar, took to the restaurant's official Facebook page to issue an , writing that "a meeting has taken place with all of our staff members" in which "everyone has been made aware of these inexcusable actions and reminded how we handle matters correctly in the future. We have rectified the situation and can guarantee this is not what we condone to go on within our restaurant."
An IHOP representative told INSIDER that the store would be shut down on Thursday to "retrain the entire team."
The company's president, Darren Rebelez, also released a statement on the incident, including an apology. Rebelez also said that the franchise is hoping to contact the affected teens directly.
"IHOP and our franchisees have zero tolerance for actions that are or allude to discrimination of any type," Rebelez said in a statement obtained by INSIDER. "The franchisee of this location is working to contact the affected guests directly to apologize for this incident and are taking appropriate disciplinary actions in line with their HR policies.
Video: Police apologize after accusing black teens of IHOP "dine and dash"
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