Restaurant owner resigns after calling employee the N-word in text message: 'I will never use that word again'

Elise Solé
The former co-owner of the Pho Shack in Sugar Land, Texas, called former employee Domo Schneckenburg the N-word. He has apologized and resigned. (Photo: Domo Schneckenburg via Facebook)
The former co-owner of the Pho Shack in Sugar Land, Texas, called former employee Domo Schneckenburg the N-word. He has apologized and resigned. (Photo: Domo Schneckenburg via Facebook)

The owner of a Vietnamese restaurant has resigned after calling an employee the N-word in a text message. “I will never use that word again,” Danh Le tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Domo Schneckenburg, formerly a Pho Shack general manager at locations in Katy and Sugar Land, Texas, posted Facebook screenshots of a group text between co-owner Le, his associate, and herself right after she quit her job of two and a half years on Friday.

“Domo just called and say she quit,” wrote Le. “I said ok. Thank you. Her last day will be Thursday. Ima call her later and tell her her last day will be today. F*** the [N-word]. Don’t like that b**** attitude anyways.”

“Lmaooooooo,” wrote Domo.

Le wrote back, “Leave the key with Wilber for me. If u want your last check. Close tonight out correctly and professionally.”

“The [N-word] says f*** you,” wrote Schneckenburg.

Domo Schneckenburg, former Pho Shack general manager. (Photo: Domo Schneckenburg via Facebook)
Domo Schneckenburg, former Pho Shack general manager. (Photo: Domo Schneckenburg via Facebook)

The 26-year-old wrote on Facebook, “I won’t lie and say I wasn’t surprised by [Le]’s reaction because I was. It was a rude awakening that the stereotypes between black and Asians are still true, New generation or not. Regardless of how long you have known them, how hard you have worked, how trustworthy you have been, whether or not the family knows you, etc. You’re still a [N-word] in their eyes. I guess my first sign should have been when the owners would casually say ‘[N-word]’ until I told them it made me uncomfortable…”

Schneckenburg tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she quit her job partly because Le kept saying the N-word. “When I got the text, I was extremely hurt and angry and I flipped a table over,” she says. “I also called a staff meeting because I wanted everyone to know what the owner thinks of me.”

Le called the police after Schneckenburg flipped the table. The Sugar Land Police Department sent Yahoo Lifestyle a police report that read, “The owner said his manager quit but began yelling in a hostile manner, flipping tables over and broke glasses before leaving. The employee was no longer at the location, and the owner did not choose to file charges. The owner contacted SLPD again on March 9 at about 6 p.m. and said he was receiving threatening messages from his former employee. SLPD has increased patrols at the business.”

Schneckenburg tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she wants people to stop calling the Pho Shack to harass her innocent co-workers. “They are not a part of this,” she wrote on Facebook.

Yelp temporarily suspended the comments section of the restaurant’s page to stop inauthentic reviews, and the private catering company Daddy Duncan’s BBQ ended its partnership with the Pho Shack: “We are aware of recent allegations of racial discrimination at The Pho Shack Sugar Land & Katy,” the company wrote on Facebook Saturday. “We do not condone discrimination in any shape or form. Therefore, we have stopped all business with The Pho Shack as of today.”

Le apologized on the now removed Facebook page of the business. “This is Danh Le. I am here today to apologize for my actions and behavior. I understand your anger towards me and I don’t deserve or expect forgiveness. This is the biggest lesson of my life as I know now how much words can hurt,” he wrote.

Screenshot: The Pho Shack – Sugar Land, Texas via Facebook
Screenshot: The Pho Shack – Sugar Land, Texas via Facebook

The business owner wrote, “I grew up in an environment that allowed ignorance to prosper, allowing the N-word to be used casually amongst friends, and it remained a part of my vocabulary until now, but that stops here. The conversation that took place was fueled by rage and mixed emotions, and as a result that word took a turn for the worst. My temper has always been my downfall.” Le resigned because, he said, “I no longer have the right to represent this company.”

Le tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Schneckenburg was disrespectful during her resignation, but that using the N-word was wrong. “I have worked with Domo for two and a half years — if I were racist, she would have left a long time ago,” he says.

The 33-year-old admits to using the N-word when speaking with his friends and has sometimes “slipped” in front of Schneckenburg. Le says he accidentally included Schneckenburg on the group text. “I have apologized to Domo, my black employees, and my brother and co-owner, who want nothing to do with me,” says Le. “I am very, very sorry and I will never do this again.”

Yahoo Lifestyle called the Pho Shack, and a server named Anthony said the restaurant is standing behind Le.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.