Shelley Sidney, an Atlanta waitress was left shocked and dismayed after working a shift during which a customer drew a swastika on a menu and handed back to her. While she describes the incident as “the most hateful thing that has ever been done to her” and asking her employer to eject the racist client, her employer cited the client’s right to free speech and relayed to Sidney not to come back to work for a few days. After later research, it was found that to make matters worse- the customer in question was party to a group of Holocaust deniers speaking event.
As reported by Breanna Edwards of The Grio:
According to WSB-TV, Sidney was waiting on a private party at Antica Posta in Atlanta’s Buckhead section Thursday night when she got handed back the menu.
“I get to the last person in the party, and they give me a menu that has a swastika drawn it,” she said.
She immediately went to her boss and showed it to him, but according to her, the restaurant’s owner, Marco Betti, cited freedom of speech. Sidney, who wanted the guests kicked out for the hateful act, was not pleased by her boss’s response.
“I was hurt and frustrated,” she said.
The guest was apparently there as part of a group at the restaurant for a notorious Holocaust denier’s speaking event … which is never a good sign. Staff reportedly noticed books being displayed in the room and, upon research, discovered that David Irving, a Holocaust denier, was hosting a speaking event at the restaurant.
“I was really in tears when I was overhearing the conversations, the private conversations, of just how horrible black people are, immigrants are, gay people are,” Sidney said, adding that she told Betti that she would not be serving the guests.
WSB-TV spoke to Betti’s attorney, Manny Arora, who said that his client handled the situation.
“As soon as she made any reference to anything inappropriate being overheard, Marco immediately asked her if she didn’t want to wait on those folks, and reassigned somebody else,” Arora said.
“You don’t check into people’s backgrounds or their political beliefs before you agree to a reservation,” the lawyer added, referencing Irving, saying that Betti was unaware of who he was.
Even upon finding out that these clients were bigoted and already targetted his staff, Betti took a stand with the customer and valued their business over the safety and security of those who work for him.
The article continues:
Still, Sidney is insistent that management needed to be more sensitive toward the diverse staff.
“He never told them that they had to leave,” Sidney said. “I think that it’s unacceptable for this to be able to go on. It’s 2017.”
Arora countered that the group did not cause any disturbances while at the restaurant.
Sidney told the news station that Betti told her not to come back to work for the past few days, but Arora said that Sidney still has a job if she wants it.
Apparently- spewing racial hate to a staff member is not a “disturbance” in the eyes of Betti.
What are your thoughts on the story? Do you think that management did the right thing in allowing for the client to remain in the restaurant on the basis of free speech? What of his decision to ask Sidney to not to return to work after the incident? What are your thoughts on Sidney’s request to remove the racist client, then subsequently having it denied?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
(Article By Tasha Sharifa)