A Gainesville woman says she was threatened at a Waffle House on Nov. 7 by employees who said they needed “nooses” after her biracial family walked in to eat.
While at the Waffle House on Pentee Drive in Gainesville, Angelica Tabor-Fells recorded a video describing the allegations, which has since gone viral on Tik Tok with 2.5 million views.
In the video, Tabor-Fells is with her 6-month-old adopted son, her 15-year-old step-daughter and 53-year-old sister. Tabor-Fells says in the video that a waitress, in front of her family, asked for a noose and the manager of the store said he had two nooses in his car. Waffle House employees do not speak to Tabor-Fells in the video.
The Gainesville Police Department is investigating, spokeswoman Cpl. Jessica Van said. She did not have additional details available Monday.
Tabor-Fells is a small business owner and runs a nonprofit organization, Level-Up Movement, in Gainesville. She is biracial with a White mother and Black father.
Waffle House received the video and a complaint from Tabor-Fells and are investigating the incident, according to a statement sent to The Times Monday, Nov. 15.
“At Waffle House, we take allegations such as this one very seriously,” according to the statement. “We do not tolerate harassment or discrimination based on race. … We have reached out privately to the customer in an effort to gain more information about this incident. We intend to conduct a thorough investigation into all of her allegations, after which we will take appropriate disciplinary action.”
Tabor-Fells’ lawyer, Kristy Davies of Davies Hothem Injury Law, said after receiving their food, a waitress loudly told a male employee, “I need a noose,” and looked at Tabor-Fells’ family. The male employee replied he had two nooses in his car, Davies said.
Tabor-Fells requested to speak with the waitress’ manager, Davies said, and the waitress indicated that the male employee she talked to was the manager.
“A ‘noose,’ or a rope with a loop under a running knot, symbolizes brutal hate and an era in American history when thousands of African Americans were lynched and murdered simply for the color of their skin,” Davies said.
Tabor-Fells did not hear from a Waffle House representative until the video became popular on social media, Davies said, and Waffle House employees did not apologize following their alleged threats. Tabor-Fells was contacted by a Waffle House representative Sunday, Nov. 14, Davies said.
Tabor-Fells released a statement Sunday, provided to The Times by Davies.
“My family and I have been deeply and emotionally affected by the hateful words of the Waffle House employees in Gainesville, Georgia,” she wrote. “We are seeking to hold Waffle House and the individual employees accountable for this behavior. I am currently processing what exactly justice means in this situation, and how we, as a society, can genuinely change hearts for racial equality.”
She wrote she wants the pursuit of justice to “remain civil,” and that she does not condone verbal or physical threats of violence.