Joe’s Crab Shack has been forced to issue a public apology after a franchise in Minnesota placed a photo on its tables that depicted a hanging.
The photo presented the real-life killing as a joke. The photo was labeled “Hanging at Groesbeck, Texas on April 12, 1895.” A word balloon above the doomed men reads, “All I said was ‘I don’t like the gumbo!'”
The photo was spotted by customer Tyrone Williams. He immediately realized what the scene was depicting and posted a photo of the lynching on Facebook.
Williams said he alerted the managers and other staffers, some of whom were African-American.
“The rest of the black staff didn’t know it was there,” Williams told CNN. Even though they told him the table, which has the image laminated on top, had been there for 10 years. “And they came over to see it and they were shocked and appalled.”
Williams says the manager apologized and he “kind of felt bad for him, having to deal with that.”
His table was offered a free meal which they declined.
Sadly, his Facebook post drew hate mail.
“I woke up this morning to about a hundred or so hate mails and it shows where we are in America right now,” he said. “Hatred is still alive.”
Joe’s Crab Shack posted an apology on Facebook.
“We understand one of the photos used in our table décor at our Joe’s Crab Shack location in Roseville, MN was offensive,” said David Catalano, COO Ignite Restaurant Group, Joe’s Crab Shack parent company. “We take this matter very seriously, and the photo in question was immediately removed. We sincerely apologize to our guests who were disturbed by the image and we look forward to continuing to serve the Roseville community.”
Here’s the original Facebook post that sparked the controversy.