Chipotle launches probe after Colts star Darius Leonard says he was racially profiled, kicked out of restaurant
Brian Niccol, chairman and CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill, on Thursday said the chain has launched an investigation after Indianapolis Colts star Darius Leonard said he was racially profiled at a location in South Carolina.
In a statement to the IndyStar, Niccol said the company has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and the manager involved in the incident has been suspended.
“I’ve personally reached out to Darius and I’m committed to ensuring the appropriate action is taken once the investigation concludes,” Niccol said.
The 24-year-old athlete on Thursday said he was kicked out of a Chipotle in Florence, S.C., and he thought it was because he is Black.
He said in an Instagram post that he was with “three other Black guys and a mixed woman” eating in the restaurant away from other customers.
He said that a white customer allegedly complained to management and falsely accused Leonard and his family of “verbally abusing him” and “talking trash to him.”
“That’s what being Black in America is right now,” Leonard said. “Us not even doing anything wrong, going out to eat with your family, just trying to spend a little bit of quality time. Can’t even enjoying eating anymore.”
Leonard said the manager approached his table toward the end of their meal with a “terrible attitude” and was “very disrespectful.”
The athlete said the manager threatened to call the police and ultimately kicked them out.
“We’re talking about Black lives matter, for a guy to look at us and lie and laugh in our faces as we walk out, and the manager … basically kicked us out of Chipotle … that’s the white privilege we’re talking about,” Leonard said.
Leonard said that he knows “what would have went down” if the manager had called the cops.
In his post, the 2018 NFL Rookie of the Year noted that his experience is similar to those of African Americans across the country amid a national conversation about the Black Lives Matter movement following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“We are tired of this,” he said. “We are tired of it. Y’all white people don’t understand what we go through. This is very frustrating. Very frustrating. Y’all don’t feel our damn pain. If y’all sat in our damn shoes for one day, one day, just walk outside and really feel what we go through, y’all would understand something.”
Chipotle has previously pledged support for the Black Lives Matter movement, announcing earlier this month that it would donate $1 million to support “organizations advocating against systemic racism,” starting with $500,000 to the National Urban League.
“We stand in solidarity with the Black community and in support of our Black employees and customers,” the company wrote on Instagram earlier this month. “Chipotle has no tolerance for racism, hate or violence. We can and will cultivate a better world together.”
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