Notice a theme in today’s posts? Me neither. It’s probably the same way you don’t notice anything about the pizza at Pizza Hut besides the BP-sized oil slicks all over it. Unfortunately for a group of black soccer players from AFC Bournemouth, it was impossible to not notice the racism spit at them by a Pizza Hut manager.
“We ordered our food. The manager came up with the bill and said: ‘Would you mind paying first?’ We asked if that was the policy and he said ‘no’,” midfielder Anton Robinson, 24, told the Bournemouth Echo.
“When we asked why he had asked us, he said: ‘It’s the way you look.’”
“We had a good idea what he was trying to get at. A group of white kids came in straight after us and they weren’t asked to pay before they had their food. The only thing that was different was the colour of our skins.”
Robinson said the group of players, including fellow first-team regulars Marvin Bartley and Liam Feeney, told the Pizza Hut employee they were professional footballers, and were happy to pay when they were finished.
“That’s what normal people do,” Robinson said. “He hadn’t asked other customers to pay before their meals. It got a little bit heated, then he said: ‘If you’re not going to pay the bill now, I’m going to call the police to escort you off the premises’.”
Leave it to Yum! Brands to combine the worst of all worlds. It’s not bad enough that customers are subjected to the Pizza Hut/Taco Bell combination restaurants. Forget the XXL chalupa. Overt racism comes at no extra charge! What a bargain!
Pizza Hut apologized for the incident but laughably claimed that the incident wasn’t “racially motivated”. Even the Conservative MP for the area wasn’t buying that bullshit.
“I am glad Pizza Hut has issued a full apology, not least for the appalling choice of words used by the manager,” [Tobias Ellwood, Conservative MP for Bournemouth West] said.
That was no apology. That’s a corporation trying to mitigate bad publicity and avoid legal action. Pizza Hut hasn’t owned up to anything. They “[spoke] to the team member involved and … contacted the customers concerned to apologise for any offence caused”. Spoke? If they had any interest in making amends, the manager would have been fired and the rest of their employees would have been read the riot act about not letting that happen again.
Ellwood and AFC Bournemouth should put pressure on Pizza Hut to make amends though community action, the immediate firing of the offending employee and an acknowledgement that they need to properly train their employees. They should also demand that the “restaurant” show respect for all people and improve the quality of their pizza. That’s the biggest insult of all.
There’s another disturbing aspect to this story. It’s the reaction of the players to their treatment.
Robinson said all players were smartly dressed, telling the Echo: “When the lads go out for a meal, we know we’re representing the club. We know that people recognise us and we have to behave.”
It’s sad that the players felt they had to make excuses for themselves. This has nothing to do with representing the club or being recognizable. This has everything to do with patronizing a restaurant and expecting to be treated with courtesy and respect no matter who you are. Pizza Hut can make all the excuses they want but at the end of the day, nothing justifies the behavior of its employees. Customers behaving appropriately should never have to make excuses for themselves due to someone else’s ignorance. What took place that day has nothing to do with behavior and everything to do with racism.
Everyone should avoid Pizza Hut in general but hopefully Bournemouth fans and opponents of racism will go out of their way to not give their business to them or anyone else who would act in the same manner.