Denny’s fires server for refusing service to Black customers

Originally published at: Denny's fires server for refusing service to Black customers | Boing Boing


Glad the server was fired, but I wonder how long she was employed there before the first non-white customer walked in the door? Seems like that kind of thing would likely be a daily occurrence even in a state as white as South Dakota.


To paraphrase Beau of the 5th Column, “Don’t call the cops on anyone you’d rather not see dead.”


That may be true, but at least it didn’t happen here.

The cops escorted them out because that is the law: if an establishment tells someone to leave, they have to leave. But then they listened to them and sympathized.

The cops can’t force the business to serve them, but they didn’t cause additional harm by harassing or arresting them either. The cops did exactly what they were supposed to, which is uphold the law. On top of that, they took a minute to listen to the other side of the story, as it was, instead of assuming the worst. That makes them good cops as far as cops go.


Probably more a matter of these being the first non-white customers to call it out. In a state as white as SD, like you say, that can be a scary thing to do and most probably put up with bad service.


Sioux Falls is a city of over 200,000 people. That restaurant has had a lot of black people visiting it. This isn’t the only instance.




I suspect that possibility is exactly why she called the cops. Further harassment and possible assault of people she hates because she’s racist. She wouldn’t have minded if they ended up dead


This is patently false. Businesses can only refuse service in limited circumstances. none of these were applicable in this situation:

Legitimate reasons for refusing to serve a customer include:

  • Customers who arrive before, or refuse to leave after, business hours
  • Rowdy or disruptive behavior
  • Lack of hygiene or cleanliness
  • Violating set rules such as a dress code
  • Threats to the health and safety of workers or customers

The server may claim the truckers were being disruptive but the evidence is clear they were polite and cooperative. The cops may have taken the path of least resistance to avoid further confrontation but they were not correct in forcing the patrons to leave.

It is against both Federal and State laws for a business to discriminate against someone based on their race.

Don’t confuse cops upholding the peace as the same thing as upholding the law.

Your rights

  • Federal anti-discrimination laws prohibit discrimination in housing, credit, employment, and “public accommodations” like restaurants, movie theaters, parks, and trains.
  • You cannot be denied a home, a job, or service at a business that is open to the public because of your race, ethnicity, or national origin, and you cannot be charged a different price because of your race, ethnicity, or national origin.
  • The Constitution prevents the government from subjecting you to worse treatment because of your race, ethnicity, or national origin in any situation.
  • State and local laws may also provide protection against discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin.

What time does the ex-server’s show on Fox start tonight?


Is this 2023 or 1953?


You are, of course, correct that the business can’t refuse to serve someone because of their race. However, whether that’s what happened in any specific instance is up to a court to decide, not the police. If someone in authority at the restaurant (manager, shift manager, etc.) asks someone to leave, then that person has to leave, and if they don’t, the police have the legal obligation to trespass that person and escort them off the property. The police don’t have the option to say, “Oh, we think this is a bullshit reason to ask someone to leave so we’re not going to make them leave.” As you said, they do have to “keep the peace” even if the law, as is the case here, is not on the side of the business.

I am very, very glad these officers turned out to be reasonable people and didn’t jump to conclusions. This situation could have turned out much, much worse. Still, ACAB.


That’s a damned low bar, but it is true enough.


“Denny’s, come for the mediocre food, stay for the racism”. I know this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of incidents like this specifically at a Denny’s.


I was thinking of the '90s, since that’s the last time I even thought about eating at a Denny’s…


Yep. They have a long, firmly established record of discrimination.


I’m assuming that the current political environment has given that server more courage to refuse service to blacks than, let’s say immediately after Denny’s had to pay out because of the racism lawsuit in the 90s.


… it’s 1993 over and over again


But police do this all the time. Ever been pulled over by a cop and get let off with just a warning?