Chipotle announced Saturday that it terminated one of its managers who was recorded asking a group of Black male customers to pay before being served.
The now viral video was posted to Twitter on Thursday by a user named Masud Ali, who captioned it “can a group of young well established African American get a bite to eat after a long workout session?”
The manager of the St. Paul restaurant tells the customers “you gotta pay because you never have money when you come in here.”
An employee adds, “We’re not gonna make food unless you guys actually have money.”
Chipotle replied to the criticism online over how the manager handled the situation by stating that “what happened here is not how our employees should treat our customers.” They also added that the manager has since been terminated and staff has undergone re-training to prevent this sort of racial insensitivity incident from happening again.
But after further investigation, the company acknowledged that the manager’s suspicions may have been well-founded.
In a series of video clips seen more than 3 million times on Twitter, Ali and his friends complain about “stereotypes.”
“It sounded really racist — the way she said it was racist,” Ali told Minnesota’s Star Tribune newspaper on Friday. “She asked for proof of income as if I’m getting a loan.”
Ali also posted the restaurant’s phone number and address to social media and within hours after being hit with a slew of complaints, Chipotle issued a statement implying that the manager had acted out of bias. But on Sunday, the food chain walked back its decision.
“Our actions were based on the facts known to us immediately after the incident, including video footage, social media posts and conversations with the customer, manager, and our employees,” Chipotle Chief Communications Officer Laurie Schalow told Fox News on Sunday. “We now have additional information which needs to be investigated further. We want to do the right thing, so after further investigation we will re-train and re-hire if the facts warrant it.”
In subsequent interviews, Chipotle representatives admitted that the manager might have been justified in asking the group to pay first, as it emerged that Ali had spoken of “dining and dashing” several times on Twitter in the past.
“Dining and dashing” is the practice of ordering food and not paying for it.
“aye man i think chopotle catchin up to us fam. should we change locations and yoooooo what should we do about the other thang,” read a post on Ali’s account from 2016.
In 2015, he wrote: “we finna goto Applebees and eat as much as we can and tip the nice lady 20cents and walk the f— out.”
When another Twitter user objected, he replied that “we’re just borrowing the food for a couple hours.”
He also once noted that “Dine and dash is forever interesting.”
Another post read: “Guys we’re borrowing food… that’s it. And if the lady tries to stop you at the door don’t hesitate to truck the sh– out of that bi—.”
Ali did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment but social media users have taken note that he’s been deleting evidence of scamming eateries.
Meanwhile, Chipotle may reverse firing the manager.