A Dairy Queen in Zion, Illinois was closed after the owner hurled a racial slur at a customer and her children.
Last Wednesday (Jan. 4), 21-year-old Deianeira Ford requested a refund on an order that was messed up. She reported that the Dairy Queen owner responded to her by calling her and her children “ni***rs.” Confused, Ford’s 3-year-old daughter asked her mother what the slur meant.
When Ford asked for the owner’s name, he replied “Bill Clinton” but then changed his mind and said, “Better yet, I’m Donald Trump.” He then told Ford to go “back where she came from.” Unsurprisingly, this lie didn’t keep his actual name, James Crichton, from being discovered.
After Ford’s Facebook post about the incident went viral, there were calls for protest, but then both Crichton and the Dairy Queen he owned were terminated.
Dairy Queen released a statement saying, “The recent actions of this franchisee are inexcusable, reprehensible, unacceptable and do not represent the values of the Dairy Queen family, our employees, fans and other independent franchises around the world. We expect our franchisees and their employees to treat every single person who walks through their doors with the utmost dignity and respect. Nothing less is acceptable.”
Crichton made a public apology, stating “I take full responsibility of my actions. As the owner of this restaurant, I should be a model for others. My actions were inexcusable and unacceptable.”
Ford doesn’t buy the apology and is considering taking legal action against Crichton, who initially denied using the N-word, called the accusations “99 percent lies” and said the entire thing was “stupid and “blown so far out of proportion.”
“His apology didn’t even address me personally,” Ford pointed out.
Immediately after the incident, Ford called the police and the responding officer wrote in his report that Crichton, who Dairy Queen said was a franchisee, “proudly admitted” to calling the woman and her children the N-word and said he would gladly go to jail.
“I asked him what happened with Ford and told him she was so disturbed by his behavior she was willing to sign a complaint against him,” the officer wrote. “(He) boastfully told me he would be happy to go to jail over the issue and proudly admitted to calling Ford a slur. He added that he is ‘fed up with black people.’”
And, believe it or not, that wasn’t the end of Crichton’s stupidity. Not too long after Ford’s post on Facebook went viral, a Black Lives Matter activist showed up to the Dairy Queen franchise to confront Crichton about his remarks, and after the owner called the police for “harassment,” the same officer responded to the scene.
Crichton told the officer that “nothing racial took place,” not realizing that he was talking to the same exact officer who he freely admitted to using the racial slur earlier in the day.
“He did not recognize me as the officer who spoke to him (Wednesday) morning and I reminded him that he already admitted to me what he did and I was on the scene to handle the current complaint,” the officer wrote in his report. “He continued to contradict his story about (Wednesday) morning to me several more times and was becoming angered that I did not believe him.”
Black Lives Matter planned to stage a protest around the Dairy Queen on Saturday (Jan. 7), but in light of the Dairy Queen’s closure, the protest turned into a celebration. Activists surrounded the defunct restaurant, chanting “this is what democracy looks like” and “treat us right or get shut down.”
Ford attended the celebration and she addressed the crowd to thank them for their support. “No one should be treated how me and my children were treated two days ago,” she said.
For Ford and her supporters, the closure of the Dairy Queen was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.