Joe's Crab Shack Apologizes for Using 'Sickening' Photo of 1895 Lynching as Table Decor

Joe's Crab Shack Used Photo of Public Execution as Decoration
Joe's Crab Shack
Raymond Boyd/Getty

03/11/2016 AT 12:40 PM EST

Seafood chain Joe's Crab Shack is under scrutiny from the NAACP for using a photo of a man's lynching as table decor at its Roseville, Minnesota, branch.

Patrons spotted the offensive picture, which shows a large group of people watching the public execution of one black man, embedded into one of the restaurant's dining tables.

The caption of the photo is labeled, "Hanging at Groesbeck, Texas, on April 12, 1895." At the top, a speech bubble coming from the executioner's stand reads, "All I said was, 'I don't like the gumbo!' "

This is on our table at Joe's Crab shack in Roseville, MN it's the lynching of two black men in Groesbeck, Texas in 1895...

Posted by Tyrone Williams on Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tyrone Williams and Chauntyll Allen noticed the shocking decoration on Wednesday, reports USA Today.

"Although the manager was apologetic about the lynching depiction, that does not change the fact that this sickening image of black men being lynched was intentionally embedded inside of a table. This type of blatant racism should not be tolerated in this country, or in our local and national eating establishments. I have felt sick to my stomach and stressed out since seeing that image on the table where I was planning to eat my food," Williams told KARE.

The Minneapolis NAACP demanded a public apology from Joe's Crab Shack as well as immediate removal of "all lynching or otherwise racially-offensive" decorations from the restaurant chain.

"It is sickening to know that someone would make a mockery of black men being savagely lynched and then use that imagery for decorative purposes in a restaurant," Minneapolis NAACP president Nekima Levy-Pounds commented.

The table was removed on Thursday and a spokesman for Ignite Restaurant Group, Joe's Crab Shack parent company, told KARE in a statement: "We understand one of the photos used in our table décor at our Joe’s Crab Shack location in Roseville, MN was offensive."

"We take this matter very seriously, and the photo in question was immediately removed," David Catalano, the COO of Ignite Restaurant Group, continued. "We sincerely apologize to our guests who were disturbed by the image and we look forward to continuing to serve the Roseville community."
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