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Army conducts review after 4 Black soldiers harassed at Virginia IHOP

Officials at a Virginia military base are conducting an internal review after TikTok videos showed a woman harassing several Black soldiers at an IHOP before cursing out another patron who intervened.

Two TikTok videos filmed by one of the four soldiers, all of whom remained unnamed, shows a white woman coming over to the seated soldiers and addressing them as "shitbags."

The woman continues cursing at the soldiers, with her reasoning unclear, as they ask her to leave them alone. In a second video, a larger nonuniformed male patron, who was identified in the video as a retired airman, confronts her and demands that she leave before the woman threatens to engage in a physical altercation.

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"I will f------ drop you. You wanna go? You wanna go?” she is heard yelling at the nonuniformed man.

"Oh? Drop me? Really?" the man says in response.

 

An official at Fort Belvoir, where the four men are stationed, confirmed in a statement to The Hill on Thursday that the base was conducting an "internal review" of the incident.

"We are committed to fostering an environment of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in our force. A view of the video will show the Soldiers maintained their composure and military bearing throughout this shocking incident," said Joe Richard, public affairs director for Fort Belvoir, calling the soldiers well-trained and disciplined.

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"The Garrison has the incident under internal review," the spokesperson added.

Richard said officials don't have specific information on the woman in the video or her motivation. “She offered to pay for their meal, which is not uncommon when people meet military personnel, it’s a gesture as a way to thank them for their service,” the spokesperson said. “She placed $30 on their table.”

However, the woman returned moments later, incensed for an unknown reason and claiming the men had stolen her money. “She became antagonistic, claiming the soldiers had taken her money and directed racially charged language at the soldiers,” Richard said.

“Are you the thin blue line, are you BLM, are you antifa?” she is heard yelling.

It isn't clear in the video whether the woman is asked to leave the IHOP following the confrontation, but the soldiers are seen leaving of their own accord. A manager is seen coming over to hear the other patron's description of the incident as they leave.

“IHOP and its franchisees do not condone the statements made by the guest in this video, and will not tolerate racism, bigotry or harassment of any kind. For more than 60 years, we have strived to create a warm and hospitable dining experience for all guests, and this isolated incident is not reflected of that ongoing commitment," the chain said in a statement to The Hill.

– Updated: 3:13 p.m.