(INDEPENDENCE, Mo.) — An Applebee’s franchise in Independence, Missouri, has fired three employees after two African-American women alleged they were victims of racial profiling at the restaurant.
After an afternoon of shopping at Independence Center shopping mall, Alexis Brison and her friend Asia Hardy stopped at Applebee’s for a bite to eat. As the pair enjoyed plates of buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks, Brison said in a Facebook post they were approached by an Independence police officer, mall security guard and Applebee’s manager. Brison said on Facebook that the trio accused her and Hardy of skipping out on a bill the night before.
During the confrontation, Brison started filming, posting the video to her Facebook page, where it has been viewed over 2 million times as of Monday.
In the video, the two women deny the accusation, saying they were not at the restaurant the night before. They suggest they were racially profiled because they are African-American.
“This is what black people have to deal with,” one of the women can be heard saying in the video.
The restaurant manager and police ask the women to pay their bill, leave and not come back, which they complied with, Brison wrote on Facebook.
In a statement to ABC News, an Applebee’s spokesperson said, “After an internal investigation and in-line with our values, the franchise terminated the manager, server and another employee involved in the incident. We do not tolerate racism, bigotry or harassment of any nature and we have taken additional steps to close the restaurant at this time in order for the team there to regroup, reflect, learn and grow from this.”
On Facebook, Brison wrote, “This is a clear example of RACIAL PROFILING that should not be stood for. Just because we are black does not mean we are all criminals and I will not be treated as such.”
Brison said she was bothered that their accuser could not remember any defining characteristics about the women they believe skipped out on their check.
“Our accuser remembered that there was a SKINNY girl and a girl who wore MAKEUP. In 2018 is this really what we’re debased to? Our weight and whether or not we wore makeup. She could not recognize any facial features,” Brison posted on Facebook.
An Applebee’s spokesperson said the restaurant is reaching out to the guests involved to apologize directly. “We know rebuilding trust with those affected by the incident will take time, and we look forward to finding resolution in the coming days,” an Applebee’s spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News.
Simon Property Group, Inc., which owns Independence Center shopping mall, and the Independence Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.
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