T.I. Leads 'Us Or Else' Boycott Of Houston's Restaurant In Atlanta After Actress And Her Party Denied Seating
Tip shut it down.
Atlanta-based rapper T.I. took the lead of a march on Saturday, Oct. 7 calling out Houston's Restaurant for allegedly discriminating against black customers.
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According to a video posted on Atlanta model and actress Ernestine Johnson's Instagram, her party of seven patrons walked into a Houston's Restaurant and waited to be seated only to discover that the restaurant has a policy prohibiting parties over six from sitting.
Johnson and her group conceded and offered to sit into two separate groups, one of three and second consisting of four people but the restaurant reportedly refused to serve them. This incident, and others according to Tip, spurred Saturday's protest.
A member of Johnson's party questioned one of the restaurant employees for an explanation but the employee failed to give one. T.I. and activist Jay Morrison led a group of protesters along with Johnson in a boycott march in front of the steakhouse. “Ok so I’ve heard 4 different stories from 4 different sources about discrimination against US at 2 separate Houston's Steakhouse locations in my city. Tomorrow we get answers. #HoustonsWeHaveAProblem,” he wrote on Instagram.
If you don't STAND for something you will FALL for anything. Period! Yesterday we set an example of what it looks like when we UNIFY. When we REMIND people how much POWER we possess and how OUR dollars keep this city's establishments in business. . You have to TEACH people how to TREAT you. Disrespect, disregard and discrimination of ANY form will not be tolerated in this city! If you don't understand the message SEEK the KNOWLEDGE! . . Super big thank you to my fam @troubleman31 for answering the call to action and always representing & standing up for the city! @debra4mizay @yandysmith @richforever and everyone else who let their voice be heard yesterday and answered our call we salute you! My man @mrjaymorrison is a true leader and we will continue to lead by EXAMPLE. . . This is bigger than us! @houstonslenox never tried to contact any of us to apologize or speak about the issue like any other civilized business would have! Nor have they addressed any of the other COUNTLESS of tasteless occurrences that have taken place. We are not finished at all. #HoustonsWeStillHaveAProblem
After videos of the protests went viral, a call for a more sustained boycott was initiated. In a statement on Instagram, the restaurant shut down before the protests began. They also denied all allegations of discrimination.
We have employed a diverse, hard-working staff serving Atlanta’s similarly diverse clientele for many years. Charges of discrimination are not only unfounded but are an intentional manipulation using social media. Our policies and guidelines apply equally to everyone. Our restaurants are not set up to accommodate large groups, with only a limited number of tables that can accommodate large parties together. Our Houston’s in Atlanta recently instituted a policy whereby large parties of 7 or more will not be split into separate groups at different tables, which means that larger groups may not be able to dine with us at certain times. We decided to close our Lenox Houston’s today from the anticipation of protests and threats made against the restaurant and staff members. We will always choose the side of caution when it comes to protecting our valued staff and guests.