After President Trump held a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina in front of 10,000 supporters, many of those fans went out into night to get a late dinner at some of the local restaurants. Those that went to Bojangles, however, were in for a nasty surprise when they arrived at the door. Instead of taking advantage of the chicken-selling bonanza waiting outside, the shift manager decided to lock the doors in an apparent refusal to sell food to supporters of the president.
One of those supporters, a man named Michael Furick, explained the situation on Facebook the next day.
“Bojangles locked the doors to the Trump rally last night and denied service,” Furick wrote. “Ironic because the rally was at Bojangles arena. @bojangles this is pretty distasteful. I walk up to the door and people are gathered around and stated they would not serve Trump supporters.”
Furick posted pictures showing a Bojangles employee holding up his hand while surrounded by Trump supporters standing outside the restaurant with pro-Trump signs. Realizing that the situation could spin quickly out of control, the shift manager eventually called his own boss, who rushed to the restaurant to unlock it for the waiting patrons.
The clear incident of politically-motivated discrimination outraged supporters of the president, who threatened to boycott the chicken chain. This ultimately inspired Bojangles’ corporate office to respond on Facebook, where they tried to distance themselves from the manager’s decision.
“He made a bad decision to close the dining room,” the chain wrote. “We apologize. That manager is no longer employed by Bojangles’.”
In a statement, Brian Little of Bojangles’ communications department said that the manager’s decision had nothing to do with political biases, insisting that he was simply overwhelmed by the number of customers outside.
“We apologize for anyone who felt they were treated in a way that was disrespectful,” Little said. “This is not in line with who we are as a business. We serve everyone who wants to purchase one of our [items].”
In remarks to a local news station, Furick said that businesses would suffer the consequences if they put politics before economics.
“If you don’t want me there, you’re not going to offend me,” Furick said. “It’s not like ‘Bojangles, you broke me.’ You’re not gonna break me, you know what I’m saying? I’m not Kathy Griffin. You know what I mean? You ain’t gonna break me. It’s not all about the Bojangles. It’s about every company and corporation that sits there and tries to tell us what we need to say, what we need to wear. You’re not gonna serve us? Yeah, you are. Or you’re gonna get rolled over.”