Cracker Barrel has released a statement after a diner found a noose-like decoration, saying "Some of the historic décor in our stores may be reminiscent of earlier times, but our inclusive culture is firmly grounded in today."
Cracker Barrel said the decoration was "an antique soldering iron with an original wrapped cord [that] should have been noticed and corrected before ever being displayed," and that it was now gone from the store.
The manager of the store invited local activists to look around the store for any other racist decorations, but the chain has not clarified whether it will examine its other stores too.
A Cracker Barrel location in Connecticut has recently come under fire after the discovery of a decoration that closely resembled a noose.
Cracker Barrels are often decorated with antique and vintage items, but, according to Fox News, patron Alfonso Robinson noticed noose-like decorations while dining at the restaurant on Nov. 9 and posted pictures of them to Twitter.
"Someone at Cracker Barrel in East Windsor need to explain why there are nooses on the ceiling," he said.
The chain responded to the tweet the same day, apologizing.
—Cracker Barrel (@CrackerBarrel) November 10, 2020
"We work hard to create a culture of hospitality that's welcoming, respectful and inclusive to everyone who walks through our doors," the chain said in an emailed statement. "Some of the historic décor in our stores may be reminiscent of earlier times, but our inclusive culture is firmly grounded in today."
Cracker Barrel also clarified the decoration was "an antique soldering iron with an original wrapped cord [that] should have been noticed and corrected before ever being displayed," and that it was now gone from the store. "We are grateful to our guest who pointed it out to us so we could correct this mistake," it added.
After the incident, local activists have met with the manager of the store in order to do a walk through the store and point out any other decorations that may have a racist connotation, according to local paper the Journal Inquirer.
It is still unclear if the chain will check its other locations for other decorations that could be viewed as racist.
"I am hopeful that the interaction I had with the manager here today is what it's going to be like going forward with any businesses, individuals, organizations, or people on social media," Keren Prescott, founder of a local organization to fight racism, told the publication. "Basically, what I'm saying is if I can say to you, 'hey this is racist, this offensive,' then I hope you would move to action and in this case take it down and be understanding and be open to learning."
This is not the first time Cracker Barrel has been criticized over issues relating to race and diversity. The chain was sued by employees and the NAACP in 1999 over claims it denied Black employees promotions, and again in 2004 by the US Department of Justice over allegations it discriminated against Black customers and engaged in segregating customers based on their race. The chain settled the DOJ lawsuit and made changes to its policies as a result of the settlement agreement.
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