A Harlem restaurant is coming under fire after multiple black women say they were racially profiled and falsely accused of dining and dashing by staff there, resulting in the suspension of at least one staff member.
According to the New York Daily News, the incident started Feb. 10, when Tara Fitzgibbon stepped into the Angel of Harlem restaurant for the first time. Fitzgibbon, who was there with two friends, told the Daily News that the restaurant, located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, was packed, so they started to move toward the bar.
As they ordered drinks and got ready to enjoy themselves, a manager reportedly came up to them, demanding to know how they were going to pay for their beverages.
“You were here last week and ran up a tab and left,” the manager insisted, according to Fitzgibbon.
Remember, this was Fitzgibbon’s first time at the restaurant, so naturally, she was thoroughly confused and tried to explain as much to the manager.
The 45-year-old said that the manager started to act out, snatching a menu from her and banging on the bar, yelling at her that she was lying and that he had video of her dining and dashing just days prior.
“We were beyond embarrassed,” Fitzgibbon recalled. “I felt dehumanized.”
The manager proceeded to show Fitzgibbon the surveillance footage from his phone, but, of course, the black women seen in the footage looked “nothing” like her, according to Fitzgibbon.
“What, do all black people look alike to you?” Fitzgibbon’s friend Tamara Young chimed in at that point, according to the report.
The enraged manager yelled at the group of friends to leave the restaurant, repeatedly pushing Young as they walked out, as indicated in the police reports that both women filed.
“They made us feel as if we were criminals,” Fitzgibbon said.
Both Fitzgibbon and Young are considering taking legal action, but they are not the only ones who say they have had a less-than-pleasant experience at the restaurant.
A woman, identified only as Kristina, claimed in a Yelp review that during her own Feb. 10 visit to Angel of Harlem, she ran into trouble with a female bartender who tried to overcharge her.
When Kristina tried to address the issue, she said that the bartender started to accuse her boyfriend of stealing alcohol.
“We were told that my partner had been stealing drinks from the counter and that is why we were charged extra,” Kristina wrote in her Yelp review, according to the Daily News. “If he had been stealing, why weren’t we kicked out then? This doesn’t make any sense.”
Kristina said that she told the bartender that she couldn’t just accuse her boyfriend of stealing, at which point the server retorted, “I’m from Europe, bitch.”
The owner of the restaurant, Anahi Angelone, declined to address the allegations specifically, but did tell the Daily News that a female bartender was suspended for a few days after being accused of racial profiling.
“It’s very sad that it went down the way it went down, but there are two sides to every story,” Angelone said.
Not sure how there are two sides to falsely accusing someone of something, and apparently not even Angelone could say what she meant, as she refused to further explain what she meant by that comment.