Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chris Rock's mom: Cracker Barrel discriminated

"CHARLESTON, South Carolina (AP) -- Rose Rock, the mother of comedian Chris Rock, claims she was racially discriminated against when she was seated but ignored for a half hour at a Cracker Barrel restaurant along the South Carolina coast.

Rock said Tuesday she planned to sue the Lebanon, Tennessee-based company. A Cracker Barrel spokeswoman said the restaurant chain was investigating and taking the complaint "very seriously."

Cracker Barrel has in the past faced numerous lawsuits and a federal inquiry over complaints of refusing to serve black customers, discriminating against minority workers and firing gay employees. The company has taken steps to rebuild its folksy image and reach out to minorities.

Rock, who is from Georgetown, said she and her 21-year-old daughter were the only blacks at the chain's Murrells Inlet restaurant in April. She said when she asked the manager about the delay she was told they could have a free meal.

"He never called over the waitresses and asked, 'Why did these people sit here for a half hour without service?' " she said. "The only thing he said was we could have a free meal and neither of us wanted to eat."

Cracker Barrel spokeswoman Julie Davis said the company doesn't "tolerate any form of discrimination."


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