Red Lobster and one of its servers are being sued by a man from Tennessee for $1 million, claiming that a racist receipt that went viral slandered his name, according to The Huffington Post.
Devin Barnes and his wife went to a Red Lobster in Franklin, Tennessee on September 7, 2013. The couple ordered their food to-go with a waiter, 19-year-old Toni Christina Jenkins. Barnes wrote ‘none’ on the line for ‘tip’ on the receipt. The bill was for $44.
The receipt was posted to Facebook a couple of days later by Jenkins, but on the tip line, “None n**ger” is written. The receipt also has Barnes’ full name printed on it while on Facebook.
“This is what I got as a tip last night,” Jenkins said on Facebook. “So happy to live in the proud southern states…God Bless America, land of the free and home of the low class racists of Tennessee.”
Barnes said he left no tip, but he said he never wrote the slur on the receipt.
The lawsuit was filed in Williamson County, Tennessee last Thursday.
“Three wrongs have been done here,” Barnes’ attorney, Richard Dugger, told The Huffington Post. “First of all, whoever wrote that name on the receipt is very, very wrong. I know neither Devin nor his wife did it. Second, Miss Jenkins posting it all over the world is very, very wrong. The third wrong is that Red Lobster did nothing to say, ‘Stop it, put an end to it.’ Two wrongs or three wrongs never make a right.”
Jenkins was suspended by the chain for posting the receipt online, which violates company policy. She has returned to work following the suspension. She took the photo off of Facebook too, but it continues to be found online.
Some users on Reddit accused Jenkins of forging the receipt and others believed her. One person started a tip fund for Jenkins, raising some $10,000.
“A lot of people on the Internet who I don’t know are calling me a racist … but I know I am not a racist,” Barnes said in an interview with ABC News 2. “I don’t see color. I have many mixed-color friends.”
A statement from Red Lobster, which views the incident as closed, says, “After the completion of a full investigation into this matter, Miss Jenkins returned to work. As we shared before, we were disgusted by the language used on this guest check as it has no place in our restaurant or anywhere else.”