Penny's Diner in Connecticut Alleges Racist Harriet Tubman Tweets Were a Hoax
Penny's Diner and Restaurant is a small business in Norwalk, Connecticut, with a big problem on its hands.
On Wednesday, after the Treasury Department announced that former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on new $20 bills, an unidentified person tweeting from an account identified as the restaurant's noted their displeasure:
Then, the account took it one step further, tweeting out a picture of Tubman on the $20 bill with the message, "Quick poll: who is this? @Michelle Obama, #HarrietTubman or @officialmutumbo (Dikembe Mutombo) #AllLookTheSame." The last reference was to former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo, who is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
But a worker at the restaurant said that the account was fake, and that they do not have any Facebook or Twitter accounts. "It's a hoax," the worker, who declined to give his name in a phone interview, said Thursday morning. "It's a repulsive statement that's totally, totally untrue. Uncategorically, unequivocally, we deny we posted anything like that."
The restaurant official said that they'd filed a police report Thursday morning and that Norwalk police were investigating the incident. "The Norwalk Police Department Detective Bureau is investigating a complaint made by the owners of Penny's Diner into fraudulent posts made to social media," Lieutenant Terrance Blake, public information officer for the Norwalk Police Department, wrote in an email to Mic. "Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation I cannot disclose any additional information."
Prospective customers from across the country have been sounding off online. A Facebook business page for the restaurant, which is apparently not run by the restaurant itself, has been overrun with outraged comments. Angry critics have left messages on the restaurant's Yelp page denouncing the business:
And locals are calling for a boycott:
That's left the restaurant's workers scrambling. "We've been part of this community for 40 years and we wanna stay part of this community," the worker said. "Only a fool would [send those tweets] if he wanted to stay in business."
April 21, 2015, 10:57 am: This post has been updated.