A KFC in Berlin is being accused of racism after a group of black customers was kicked out of the eatery Monday. In a video that was taken by one of the customers and then shared on social media, police can be seen escorting them out of the fast-food store.
“Racial treatment in Berlin in KFC, we were [just] having something to eat n chatting #racismstillexist #neverexperiencethatbefore,” the video caption on Facebook read. The recording has been viewed more than 300,000 times and shared more than 4,000 times.
In the video, the group of black customers can be seen staring incredulously as officers demand that they leave the store “right now.” The group demands to know what they did wrong.
“We were chatting, because we were laughing ... ,” one woman can be heard arguing.
To add insult on top of injury, the group was asked to leave the food that they had already paid for inside the restaurant.
Still, the group got up and left the establishment.
But that’s not where the story ends, apparently. Now the Berlin Police Department is refuting the accusations and says it will be pressing charges against those who recorded and uploaded the video for violating the officers’ privacy rights.
From there, social media has lit up, outrage spreading even as KFC denies that racism was involved in the incident. A spokesperson from Berlin’s Police Department said Thursday that a KFC employee had called complaining about “vandalism,” the Washington Post reports.
When officers arrived, a store worker said that a “group of eight people refused to leave the store,” and added that “they had thrown around food and insulted employees,” the police spokesperson said.
KFC said in a statement Thursday that the group’s “behavior alarmed several individuals” who were in the store at the time, and that after “mediation efforts failed,” the police were called.
However, as is customary in these cases, one of the group offered a different story to German newspaper Die Welt.
Kelon Pierre, 38, said that restaurant employees asked them to be quiet or leave, a request that the group—who had come from Britain on a tourism trip—didn’t understand.
“We were the only black people in the restaurant, and we were the only ones asked to be quieter, even though other people laughed, too,” Pierre told Die Welt, according to a translation by the Post. “We ordered food for 118 euros. … Other guests around us also chatted and laughed. That’s why I asked, ‘Why are you only speaking to us?’”
Despite the accusations, KFC remains firm in standing by its employees, saying: “Our employees come from different cultures and have various faiths. Of course, every guest is welcome [at our stores] across the globe—regardless of their origins, their religion or skin color.”