necn Investigates: State Reviews Claims of Racially Insensitive Remarks at Restaurant Where Obama Ate | NECN

necn Investigates: State Reviews Claims of Racially Insensitive Remarks at Restaurant Where Obama Ate

Part of alleged altercation was caught on tape at Martha's Vineyard restaurant

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Three women have accused staff at a Martha's Vineyard restaurant of making racially insensitive remarks and now Massachusetts officials are investigating the claims. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016)

    Three women are accusing staff at a popular Martha's Vineyard restaurant of making racially insensitive remarks.

    Part of the interaction was caught on camera.

    "I didn't really understand why we were being talked to in that way," says Nicole Jones.

    Jones, along with her two friends Medina Jett and Whitley Mingo, tell necn Investigates the incident occurred on Friday night at the Jimmy Seas Pan Pasta restaurant on Martha's Vineyard.

    "Even now I'm trying to hold back tears because I really cannot believe that I would be degraded in that manner just because I wanted to have dinner," said Jones.

    The group of three friends were vacationing in Martha's Vineyard on Friday night. They decided to eat at the popular Italian restaurant because several days prior President Obama and the first family had dined there.

    Jones said she was excited to eat at Jimmy Seas. However, the group of three said after sitting down at the bar, they began to feel uncomfortable.

    "Sweat was starting to bead up. It was running down our backs," said Medina Jett.

    When the group asked for a nearby window to be opened, they claim the staff denied their request.

    "At that point the owner had said to me 'You're trying to get a free meal. Is this what this about?' And just grabbed her purse and just started throwing out cash $100," according to Jett. "As she was doing that, Whitley, she said 'No, no, no. We don't want your money.'"

    Jett told necn Investigates that they offered to pay for the meal, but things escalated after she told her friend she would write a Yelp review. She said the owner - William Craffy - allegedly started taking pictures of women.

    "He started to say that 'you people' don't realize that this is Martha's Vineyard," Jett told necn.

    At that point, Jett said the owner began taking their pictures. When she inquired why, "He said, 'So that when you post a negative review, I can show everybody what you look like.' And at that point, it sounded to me like he was saying if people see that if you're black, then your opinion won't really matter."

    One of the women grabbed their cellphone, which allegedly captured the owner stating "Get the (expletive) out." The women said the requested their bill and a to go container but the owner refused.

    "He was just screaming at us as though we were animals on the street. I've never had an experience like that in my life," said Jett.

    Eventually, the women did leave Jimmy Seas.

    Necn asked Craffy, the owner, for comment regarding Friday's incident. But he declined multiple times to make any statement.

    The women have filed a civil rights complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. A spokesperson said they are reviewing the complaint.


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