Restaurant accused of discrimination sends CBS46 different state - CBS46 News

Restaurant accused of discrimination sends CBS46 different statement

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

After claiming a policy issue, the restaurant accused of discriminating against a group of African-American customers has changed its story in a statement sent to CBS46 News.

Ernestine Johnson and six others wanted to eat at Houston's restaurant in Buckhead and was denied service. Johnson and her party claim discrimination, while restaurant officials say it's against policy.

In a video that has since gone viral, a staff member at the restaurant on Lenox Road attempts to explain to Johnson why her party of seven can't be seated, claiming a party so large cannot always be accommodated.

Johnson says she offered to split her party up but the manager of the restaurant told her no.

After the initial incident, a spokesperson for the restaurant sent CBS46 this statement regarding the matter:

"Our restaurants are not set up to accommodate large groups, with only a limited number of tables that can accommodate large parties together. Our Houston's in Atlanta recently instituted a policy whereby large parties of 7 or more will not be split into separate groups at different tables, which means that larger groups may not be able to dine with us at certain times. Charges of discrimination are not only unfounded but are an intentional manipulation using social media. Our policies and guidelines are equal to everyone."

On Saturday, Johnson led a demonstration outside the restaurant that was also attended by Atlanta rapper, T.I.  Johnson also showed us numerous testimonials from other African-Americans who felt they were discriminated against by the restaurant.

On Monday, the restaurant sent CBS46 another statement that read:

"Our only two large tables were occupied at the time and this party was unwilling to wait.  Instead of waiting as other guests would have been asked to do, members of this group became aggressive to our staff and disruptive to our guests' dining experience.  As a result, this group was denied service and asked to leave the restaurant. Additionally, the video posted online is incomplete and mischaracterizes the events from last Friday.  Before the video begins, members of this group had already crossed a line that caused the party to be denied service."

CBS46 showed the statement to Johnson and she calls the restaurant's allegations a "bold face lie." 

CBS46 did talk with an African-American man who says he has eaten at the restaurant several times over the past 22 years. He says he's never felt discriminated against.

Johnson says she's getting a lawyer to follow up on her case.

Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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