Eugenior Joseph went to a Cheesecake Factory location in Florida with his girlfriend and her family to celebrate Mother’s Day over the weekend, but instead of enjoying a meal, he was allegedly served with threats and abuse by the restaurant’s staff. Joseph, a supporter of President Donald Trump, was wearing a Make America Great Again hat, and apparently it was not well received.
According to accounts from Joseph and witnesses reported by The Daily Wire, Joseph was at the location in Miami’s Dadeland Mall when an employee approached him, pointed at his hat, and beckoned for her coworkers to join her.
“Her finger was literally on top of his head, we were all looking at her like ‘what is happening?'” a witness told the publication. “She was pointing at him, calling her other coworkers, telling them to look at this guy wearing a Make America Great Again hat.”
About a dozen employees eventually approached Joseph, with witnesses saying that some allegedly threatened to hit him and others allegedly using the n-word.
“A guy said, ‘I want to knock the hat off your head,'” Joseph told the Miami Herald.
He told Fox News that he wasn’t intimidated, but his girlfriend and her family were uncomfortable.
Despite this report, police who responded to the scene determined that “no threats were made and no physical altercation occurred.”
The Cheesecake Factory commented after hearing about the incident.
“No guest should ever feel unwelcome in one of our restaurants and we are very sorry,” the restaurant said in a statement. “Our investigation is ongoing and we have reached out to Mr. Joseph directly to ask for his assistance.”
On Wednesday, however, the restaurant chain told CBS that while two employees who made disparaging comments to Joseph are no longer with the company, reports of the situation may have exaggerated what happened. They said that a staff meeting may have led some to believe that more employees were involved than was actually the case.
“Not all of the information reported by the media accurately portrays what occurred,” a Cheesecake Factory spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch on Wednesday. “The situation may have been exacerbated by an all-staff meeting that took place during our shift change between our staff members working the lunch and dinner shifts – which may have been perceived as a crowd gathering near the guests’ tables.”
Joseph told Fox News that his memory of the event was different, adding that when he went to the bathroom, he saw several people exiting the kitchen, yelling at him.
“It was just really wrong,” he said.
[Image via CBS Miami screengrab]