ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Police were called to the Applebee’s in Ashtabula Township on Wednesday night in response to a dispute between a customer and an employee.
Morris Glenn was sitting at the bar with his girlfriend, talking to three other people, when a manager called Glenn “boy,” he said.
Glenn said he was told to behave like a good little boy, or you’re going to have to leave, he said.
Glenn, who had already paid his bill, left the restaurant at that point, and was waiting outside for a taxi when police arrived, he said.
“I’m 50 years old, almost, and I’ve never been called a ‘boy’ in my life until I moved down here,” Glenn said.
Lindsey McManus, who witnessed the event, said a number of people were talking around the bar. An employee approached Glenn, who was not the loudest person in the group, and spoke with him for some time, McManus said.
Then a manager approached Glenn and asked him if he was going to be a good boy, or he would be asked to leave, then called him boy again, according to McManus.
“I’m the only black person in the bar, and I got pulled to the side,” Glenn said. “I got singled out, out of everybody that was in that whole place.”
Glenn live-streamed around 20 minutes of his interactions with police on Facebook Live. In the video, Glenn can be heard sharing what happened in the restaurant, and asking for an apology from the employee.
About halfway through the video, a witness comes out of the restaurant and corroborates Glenn’s story.
Glenn said he feared for his life during his interactions with the police.
“I didn’t want to be a victim that day,” he said.
Glenn contacted Applebee’s corporate offices on Wednesday, he said. They discouraged Glenn from talking to the press, and asked what could be done to rectify the situation.
“If they weren’t wrong, they wouldn’t offer me anything,” Glenn said.
Glenn said he would like a public apology, and for the employee to be removed from his position.
“He doesn’t need to be in a position like that, to walk past a whole restaurant full of people, and choose the only Black person in there, and call the Sheriff’s [Office] on me,” Glenn said.
A statement was released late Thursday by the franchisee.
“We have zero tolerance for racism or bigotry of any kind in our restaurants and want everyone to feel welcome,” said Jeff Lingel, Director of Operations, Flynn Restaurant Group, an Applebee’s franchisee.
“Each and every one of our guests should be treated with respect and dignity, and comments like our guest described are completely unacceptable. We continue to investigate this matter and will take appropriate measures.”
Attempts to reach the employee in question were unsuccessful.