Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at Carmine’s in New York City on Monday to accuse the Italian restaurant of racism following a recent altercation between a hostess and three Black female tourists.
Chants of "F— you, Carmine’s," and "Carmine’s are racist" erupted outside the establishment on the Upper West Side, which made headlines when a hostess was attacked last Thursday. Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44, Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21, and Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49, allegedly assaulted Carmine’s 24-year-old hostess last Thursday when she asked to see their COVID-19 vaccination cards. The three were arrested following the incident and charged with assault and criminal mischief.
BLACK LIVES MATTER CHAPTER TO PROTEST IN SUPPORT OF TEXAS TOURISTS ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING NYC HOSTESS
Justin Moore, who is legally representing one of the three women, told the The New York Times that the hostess used a racial slur and was condescending to them while suggesting their vaccine cards were fake.
The demonstrators also rallied against COVID-19 vaccine passports, which they claimed will disproportionately affect Black people.
"This vaccination card mandate to create more Sandra Blands, and more Breonna Taylors, it ends here," said organizer Kimberly Bernard during a speech. "Consider yourself served. Cancel Carmines’s!" Hawk Newsome, the founder of BLM Greater New York Chapter, said, "Listen, vaccine is a choice, it’s a choice. You shouldn’t exclude people from everyday activities because they choose not to engage in something they have every reason to doubt." Carmine’s has denied wrongdoing, telling Fox News on Monday, "Last week’s violence against our staff had nothing to do with race, despite a Texas criminal defense lawyer’s false assertions to the contrary."
"Three of our hosts who are respectively Black, Latinx, and Asian American women did their best to welcome a large party while enforcing New York’s vaccination requirement for indoor dining. We require that every guest show evidence of vaccination to eat inside. Unfortunately, some male members of the party were unable to provide vaccination proof and so could not enter the restaurant. Three female guests in the party who had shown proof of vaccination and been welcomed into the restaurant without issue then launched an entirely unprovoked, brutal attack on our hosts, one of whom continues to suffer from a concussion.
"None of the attackers offered any reason for their attack. None of the hosts – all of whom are people of color – uttered a racial slur," the statement continued. "None of the attackers mentioned anything about race to our managers, staff, or the police who arrested them, and the Texas criminal defense lawyer’s false assertion otherwise is a deeply cynical ploy to try to excuse wanton violence."