Black women accuse J. Alexander’s of racial targeting

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A popular restaurant has addressed allegations of racial targeting after a group of black women say they felt rushed to leave.

It happened at J. Alexander’s in Easton on Saturday. 

One of the women posted a video online and it has been shared nearly 1,000 times, leaving hundreds wondering who’s at fault.

The women NBC4 spoke to said they felt they were treated unfairly because they are black. 

J. Alexander’s said that is not what happened. 

The women said all they wanted to do was throw a surprise party for their best friend.

Instead, they say they got an unwanted surprise of their own.

Seneca Turner and Nicole Hanks said a surprise 40th party was ruined at the restaurant in Easton. 

The restaurant is calling it a misunderstanding about a question. 

The manager asked how long they’d be there.

“I just asked “are you kicking us out? And when he kinda paused to answer, that’s when I pulled my phone and began to record,” said Turner.

In a statement, a restaurant spokesperson said, in part, around 4:30 p.m., the general manager asked the question because the next reservations started at 6. 

Since 1994, J. Alexander’s restaurant has consistently provided our guests in Columbus with the highest quality food and professional service.  Our entire staff is highly trained and adheres to rigid non-discriminatory practices that are as comprehensive as any standards in our industry.

J. Alexander’s sincerely regrets the misunderstanding by a guest and her companions that recently occurred at our restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, on November 9, 2019.  There was never any indication or action by our General Manager or staff that was in any way racially motivated. 

Our records show that the original guest reservation was made for two tables of 8 at 3 p.m. but it was not until approximately 45 minutes later that even half the party had arrived. The entire party was not present until well after 4 p.m. As they arrived, guests ordered appetizers and beverages but not entrees.

Because so many of the party arrived well past the 3 pm reservation time, at approximately 4:30 p.m., our General Manager inquired as to how long the party thought they would be at the restaurant given that the evening reservations would begin around 6 p.m. (approximately three hours past their original reservation) and the restaurant wanted to ensure it could accommodate all its guests. These guests responded that they would begin ordering their meals. Our General Manager thanked them and returned to other duties. We understand that some of the guests chose to leave the restaurant at approximately 5:15 p.m. The guests were never asked to leave or hurry their dining experience. The General Manager inquired as to their status simply to determine how to best serve their needs as well as those guests with reservations later in the evening. 

We have reached out to and communicated with two of the guests in the party who were in our restaurant on November 9 and invited them to return to our restaurant and dine with us.   We look forward to resolving any concern they might have from their visit to J. Alexander’s.

J. Alexander’s

The ladies said the manager approached them around 3:50 p.m., less than an hour after they arrived.

Restaurant officials said the manager’s actions were not racially motivated and they sincerely regret the misunderstanding by the ladies.

Two of the women were invited back to the restaurant but they both declined.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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