Protest Held By Individuals Upset About Comments
SMITHFIELD – The franchise owner of the Smithfield Chick-fil-A has issued an apology after a social media post reportedly shared by his wife, also an employee of the restaurant, went viral this week.
Angie Dimsdale shared a post Monday on her personal Facebook page that read, “Wanna stop the Riots? Mobilize the septic tank trucks, put a pressure cannon on em… hose em down… the end.” The post was widely shared in the community including Smithfield Town Councilman Marlon Lee who responded on his Facebook page “…They make it sound good… BUT I SHALL NOT EAT THERE AGAIN!!!”
Mrs. Dimsdale later posted on her account, “Earlier today something was shared with me on social media; without realizing my blind spots. I re-shared it. I now know that was a mistake. Since posting it, I have seen the hurt, shock, anger and embarrassment it has caused. To be honest, it has opened my eyes. It has suddenly brought to mind other times in my past where I may have been oblivious about how others may view things I say, posts I share or actions I take. The difficult truth is painful and has shiwn (sp) me I have more personal growth I need to work on. As a way of beginning that growth, I want to sincerely apologize.”
On her Facebook page, Angie Dimsdale indicated she was Director of Customer Care at Smithfield Chick-fil-A. Her page now appears to be deleted.
Monday night, Keith Dimsdale the franchise owner posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page: First and foremost, we need to apologize. Earlier today, a Team Member at our store shared a post on her personal social media page that was hurtful, ignorant and wrong. This post does not reflect my views nor that views of the hard working Team Members at our store. At Smithfield Chick-fil-A we take great pride in earning your trust as a place where all are welcomed. The action of this Team Member was such a significant violation of that trust that I terminated her effective immediately. Beyond that, though, this posts violates the Corporate Purpose at Chick-fil-A. As Chick-Fil-A Team Members and leaders, our Corporate Purpose calls us “To Glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To be a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” We fell drastically short of that call today, and I’m very sorry for that – we will do better.
An African-America community leader who wished to remain anonymous said the comments of a ‘pressure canon’ and being ‘hosed down’ is upsetting to the black community because of a 1963 incident in Birmingham, Alabama where children and high school students were hit with high-pressure water from a fire hose during a peaceful march. The force caused skin to peel off some of the children’s arms. That, he believes, is why the Facebook post upset so many minorities who were a part of the civil rights movement.
Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Dimsdale met with African American community leaders in Smithfield. Councilman Lee said Dimsdale was apologetic and wanted to meet with them again in the near future.
A few hours later, about two dozen protestors gathered across the street from Chick-fil-A on N. Brightleaf Boulevard. There were no incidents and the group dispersed after an hour. During the protest there was an increased presence of Smithfield Police and Johnston County deputies in the area.
The Smithfield Chick-fil-A has received both support and criticism on their social media page:
• “I’m sorry but I fail to see what was “racist” about her post… Was there a subliminal message in there I’m missing?? it appeared to be directed soley (sp) towards the riots taking place.”
• “Hurtful? Ignorant? Wrong? Nah, RACIST, DISGUSTING. INEXCUSABLE”
• I (use to frequent your business) at least 3 times a month… Because I live 23 miles away! NEVER!!! again. Thanks for the Apology…”
• You did what needed to be done and I’m sure you was the most hurt specially if it was your partner honestly just let things cool off and start over ive ate food there all the time and the staff treated me right also she needs to apologize to the ones she hurt by this. Never is it ok to joke on serious matters people out here dying man!!!
• Thanks for the apology!
• You cannot control others actions. You are portraying your Christian values by apologizing for their mistakes. Bless you!!!
• You still have my support, and I will continue to eat there. There was nothing racist in the post. It was towards the rioters, those destroying businesses, homes, killing and beating others. It has nothing to do with color. There are people of many races and ethnicities that are rioting; they are all wrong!
We were unable to reach Mr. Dimsdale for a comment. We have also reached out to the Corporate Office of Chick-fil-A. They have also not responded to our request for a comment.