Berlin – KFC is facing racism accusations in Germany after a group of several black customers was thrown out of one of its Berlin stores on Monday. In a video distributed online and recorded by a member of that group, police officers can be seen escorting the group out of the restaurant.
Upon the arrival of police officers, a store worker explained that a “group of eight people refused to leave the store. They had thrown around food and insulted employees,” according to a police spokeswoman.
Authorities defended their response, saying that KFC has property rights and is allowed to ask individuals to leave.
Speaking to German newspaper Die Welt, one of the members of the group, 38-year-old Kelon Pierre, offered a different version of events, however. “We ordered food for 118 euros . . . Other guests around us also chatted and laughed. That’s why I asked: Why are you only speaking to us?” said Pierre, referring to a restaurant employee giving the group the choice to either be quieter or leave the restaurant.
“We were the only black people in the restaurant and we were the only ones asked to be quieter, even though other people laughed, too,” Pierre told Die Welt. According to the German paper, the group had come to Berlin from Britain on a tourism trip.
KFC Germany did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
On social media, German viewers voiced outrage and apologized to the group on behalf of their countrymen and women. “I am German and I am pretty shocked about my fellow countrymen! Especially it makes me sad, how the people in the restaurant react. I’m sure there were a lot of people watching the scene,” wrote one viewer.
The incident reminded some of the arrest of two African American men at a Philadelphia Starbucks last month. Both men were charged with trespassing and creating a disturbance after sitting at the store without ordering a beverage or food.
The charges were later dropped and the two men agreed to a symbolic payment of $1 each, asking the city to fund $200,000 for a grant program for high school students aspiring to become entrepreneurs instead. In response to the arrest that was caught on video, Starbucks will close 8,000 stores for one afternoon in May to conduct racial-bias training.