A Dairy Queen restaurant in Zion, Illinois, was closed Friday after a young mother said the franchise owner called her and her children a racial slur. The racially charged dispute sparked calls for a local protest and boycott of the fast-food restaurant chain.
Deianeira Ford, 21, said the incident took place Wednesday when she asked the store on 21st Street, west of Sheridan Road, in Zion for a refund after a problem with her order. Responding to her, store owner James Crichton used the N-word, following which Ford’s daughter asked her what the racial slur meant.
On asking the owner his name, he first said it was “’Bill Clinton’ and then said, ‘Better yet, I’m Donald Trump,’ and told me to go back where I came from,” Ford reportedly said.
The terms of the franchise agreement termination were agreed to on Friday and were effective immediately, Dairy Queen spokesman Dean Peters told News-Sun, a local newspaper.
“The recent actions of this franchisee are inexcusable, reprehensible, unacceptable and do not represent the values of the Dairy Queen family, our employees, fans and other independent franchises around the world,” a statement by the company said. “We expect our franchisees and their employees to treat every single person who walks through their doors with the utmost dignity and respect. Nothing less is acceptable.”
The company’s statement came hours after Crichton issued an apology.
“I take full responsibility of my actions,” Crichton reportedly said in a statement released by the Dairy Queen spokesman. “As the owner of this restaurant, I should be a model for others. My actions were inexcusable and unacceptable.”
Clyde McLemore of Black Lives Matter in Lake County went to the Dairy Queen outlet to confront the owner, but left when asked to do so by the police, according to a report. A Black Lives Matter protest at the Dairy Queen was planned for Saturday but has now been converted to a “celebration.”
“This satisfies Black Lives Matter,” McLemore told the News-Sun. “We’re going to announce the news and go out and celebrate.”