ROSEVILLE, Minn. – Joe’s Crab Shack is under fire for using a photo of a black man’s execution as table decor.
According to the Minneapolis NAACP, Tyrone Williams and Chauntyll Allen were preparing to dine at Joe’s Crab Shack in Roseville on Wednesday night when they noticed a photo embedded inside the table.
It appeared to show a large group of white people watching a public execution of at least one black person. On the bottom of the picture, it reads: “Hanging at Groesbeck, Texas, on April 12th, 1895.” At the top, the caption reads, “All I said was that I didn’t like the gumbo.”
“Although the manager was apologetic about the lynching depiction, that does not change the fact that this sickening image of black men being lynched was intentionally embedded inside of a table,” Williams said. “This type of blatant racism should not be tolerated in this country, or in our local and national eating establishments. I have felt sick to my stomach and stressed out since seeing that image on the table where I was planning to eat my food.”
Allen said she could not believe the image was used so casually.
“Seeing a picture of two black men being lynched was the last thing that I expected to see at what was supposed to be a family-friendly restaurant,” Allen said.
Nekima Levy-Pounds, President of the Minneapolis NAACP, said the incident “demonstrates that racism is still alive and well in this country.”
“It is sickening to know that someone would make a mockery of black men being savagely lynched and then use that imagery for decorative purposes in a restaurant,” Levy-Pounds said in a statement.
The Minneapolis NAACP is demanding an immediate public apology by the corporate offices of Joe’s Crabshack; immediate removal “of any and all lynching or otherwise racially-offensive imagery” from its restaurants; and a donation to a local community-based organization that serves African American youths and teenagers.
David Catalano, COO Ignite Restaurant Group, Joe’s Crab Shack parent company, said the image was immediately removed and the company understands that the photo used at the Roseville restaurant was offensive.
“We sincerely apologize to our guests who were disturbed by the image and we look forward to continuing to serve the Roseville community,” Catalano said in a statement.