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People boycott Greensboro Bojangles over possible racial incident

A spokesperson for a former Bojangles employee said three white customers spit on her in the drive-thru after being denied free drinks.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro police said the Bojangles on Pisgah Church Road is getting threats over the handling of what may have been a racially-charged incident.

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A spokesperson for the former Bojangles employee, Bishop David Callands, said three white customers spat on her in the drive-thru after being denied free drinks.

"She pretty much told them they couldn’t have free drinks. They would have to go back through the line and order and that’s when they called her out of her name and they spat toward her," Callands said.

WFMY News 2 is not naming the former Bojangles employee. Bishop Callands of The Coalition for Economic and Social Justice Reform spoke on her behalf.

He said they called her out for being black, using explicit language. 

"I wouldn’t call it a racial slur but they used the derivative for dog."

Callands said the employee went to management.

"In return they said, 'That’s well, but can you get back there and work the line,' because apparently it was very busy," Callands said.

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Callands said the employee quit that Wednesday night because Bojangles didn’t call police and also because the three customers were eventually given the free drinks.

"Not all the time is the customer right," Callands said. "Sometimes the customer is just wrong, and we have to voice that wrong to protect people."

The incident, which was not reported to police by the employee, led to peaceful demonstrations outside of Bojangles on Sunday and a 30-day boycott of the restaurant according to Callands.

Credit: Kenneth Noble

Word of the boycott spread all over social media, as the Coalition posted videos with tens of thousands of views. 

As more people became aware of the incident, Bojangles filed a police report on Saturday because the restaurant was receiving threats, according to Greensboro police. 

A manager at Bojangles filed a report for communicating threats. 

Because the threats were related to the incident the employee described, Greensboro police are reviewing surveillance video from the drive-thru where she said she was spat on.

Police were unaware the incident happened because a report wasn't filed that Wednesday. Callands said the employee didn't call police because she was in shock.

"The first thing we always wanted was an apology from Bojangles saying, 'We dropped the ball. We did not do due diligence to make sure the employee felt safe.' And as of this point no one has contacted her."

The Coalition also wants the three customers to be found and charged for what was said and done.

"In regards to the spitting, you don’t know if they were COVID-19 positive or any other thing that could be going on," Callands said.

Callands said whoever is threatening Bojangles needs to stop because this is a peaceful boycott. 

"There is a way and we’re doing it the right way," he said. "If you continue to apply peaceful pressure in a unified way you’ll get results."

A spokesperson for Bojangles issued the following statement:

What our former employee described as happening with customers in the drive-thru window last Wednesday is deplorable, hurtful and unfortunate.  We are sorry for that experience.  

When we learned of the employee’s accusations, Bojangles immediately conducted a thorough investigation and filed a report with local law enforcement on Saturday. We have turned our evidence, including video footage, over to them and are fully cooperating with their investigation.  

While this is a personnel matter, and therefore, we cannot disclose details, what we can say is that racism and discrimination are not a part of who we are or how we conduct our business.  

Callands said a handful of other Pisgah Church Bojangles employees walked out on the job after the incident, but Bojangles could not comment on that.

The Coalition plans to hold a demonstration outside the E. Bessemer Bojangles location on June 27, unless they get a direct apology from the company.

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