Restaurant manager suspended for racial profiling, throwing chair at black customer: 'I'm not trying to be racist'

Elise Solé
Matthew Fezzey, the business manager at Chicago’s Poke Poke, has been suspended after admitting to racial profiling. (Screenshot: Instagram/correyb)
Matthew Fezzey, the business manager at Chicago’s Poke Poke, has been suspended after admitting to racial profiling. (Screenshot: Instagram/correyb)

The manager of a poke restaurant has been suspended for racial profiling and allegedly throwing a chair at a customer, saying he got “defensive” at the sight of black men.

Business manager Matthew Fezzey of Poke Poke in Chicago, Ill., admitted to throwing the chair at a customer name Kyle (last name unknown) in a social media video over the weekend because he held preconceived notions about the man’s race.

“I’m f***ing in the wrong. This is the second time in a row, third time in a row. Two days ago — and I’m not trying to be racist — two black guys robbed two people right here,” Fezzey said to Kyle on the video taken outside the restaurant on Wabash Ave.

“But sir, you threw a chair at me,” responded Kyle.

“No, listen, three days ago, I had two more black guys. I actually fought them in here. … They tried threatening one of my employees, and I had to fight them,” insisted Fezzey. “When you guys came in here, I just got really f***ing defensive, really defensive because I had to fight them off all the time. These security guards over here don’t do a thing.”

When Kyle points out again that Fezzey threw a chair at him, the manager says, “I know. Again, I’m f***ing way in the wrong. I feel badly. That was just my first instinct because I’ve had to deal with fights here, which I shouldn’t. I legit thought we had to fight.”

Kyle said that he had no intention of hurting anyone, and Fezzey responded, “As a human being, man, I shouldn’t have done that s***. I knew it was wrong. I’m not going to lie, man. Yo, I’ll look in here (at the camera). I had to fight three people at my restaurant the other day, so I thought I had to fight some more people, so s***, I freaked out.”

A corporate spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Fezzey will be suspended until an investigation is complete, adding: “We don’t condone any type of racism or discrimination.”

Poke Poke also ran an Instagram statement:

View this post on Instagram

Our statement on the recent incident.

A post shared by POKE POKÉ (@pokepokechi) on Jan 4, 2019 at 11:48am PST

Fezzey did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Fezzey has not been charged but his case report classifications are simple assault and simple battery. The officer could not give more information because all parties in the police report are listed as victims.

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