Chipotle apologizes for one of its employees, who staged a police protest against the NYPD, that is, depending on what pseudo-news site you read. Mexican chain Chipotle has issued a formal apology to the New York Police Department, though what actually went down at the mostly organic eatery is up for grabs. In fact, so muddled has the story become, it now has earned its own debunking Snopes page, which has labeled the fracas as “mostly false.”
On Dec. 30, The Associated Press wrote, via ABC News: “Two Chipotle chief executives have apologized to New York City police officers who were greeted by a restaurant employee making the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ gesture popular with protesters.” NYEater.com labeled the employee as “wayward,” and reported that Facebook responses to the apology were “nasty.”
In a statement, Co-CEOs Steve Ells and Monty Moran said the action of one employee at their Brooklyn restaurant was spontaneous, and was not done in any concerted effort by the staff to make a collective statement of protest.
Here’s what happened, as far as we can glean from accredited news outlets: On December 16, a group of nine uniformed NYPD officers entered Chipotle, and while waiting in line, an African American female employee raised her hands in the “don’t shoot” gesture, propagated by dissenters after the shooting and killing of 18-year-old Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown by a white police officer. Chipotle clarified that the officers were not refused service; after seeing the distasteful gesture, they simply turned around and left.
Adds Jay Hathaway from Gawker: “Due in part to a popular Facebook post spreading [the refused service] version of the story, police supporters, the anti-#BlackLivesMatter set, and the web’s worst journalist all called for a boycott of the restaurant and the firing of an employee earlier this week.”
After reviewing the video footage of the incident, Chipotle said: “We work very hard to ensure that every customer in our restaurants feels welcome and is treated with respect. Clearly, the actions of this crew member undermined that effort.”
We have conducted a review of the incident including interviews with the crew and a review of video footage from security cameras. Our investigation has shown that this appears to have been a spontaneous, unplanned action taken by an individual crew member and was not a coordinated effort by the staff of the restaurant. – Chipotle CEOs
“We have proudly served law enforcement officers in our restaurants around the country for the last 21 years and we continue to do so every day,” they said, adding that they have dealt with the employee. They did not indicate if the employee is still employed with Chipotle or not.
But despite the clarification, the Chipotle outrage has continued to roll, and as with many race-bait stories, the inertia started by such aggrandizing potboilers is mighty hard to stem.