A South Carolina Woman Files Lawsuit Against BBQ Chain That Is Known For Practicing Racism

A South Carolina Woman Files Lawsuit Against BBQ Chain That Is Known For Practicing Racism

A South Carolina woman has filed a lawsuit against a barbecue chain allegedly known for its racist beliefs and practices. 

According to The Associated Press News, A Black woman, who has not been named, filed a lawsuit saying that Jeff Harrison, manager of Maurice’s Piggie Park BBQ, located in Columbia, South Carolina, coerced her into a sexual relationship after promising her a raise, which he paid. 

AP News reports that the woman quit her job at Piggie Park BBQ after Harrison became more “threatening” and “irate” when she decided to decline further sexual advances. 

Last month, Damien Wooden, who is also a former Black employee at Piggie Park BBQ, filed a lawsuit accusing Harrison of leaving racial slurs and threatening messages on a voicemail after Wooden asked him to stop harassing the Black woman, AP News reports. 

In a statement to ABC Columbia News, Lloyd Bessinger, president of Maurice’s Piggie Park BBQ, said the establishment “does not condone or accept any sexual or racial behavior.” 

“When I heard of Mr. Harrison’s behavior I fired him imminently. We are a local family business that supports the community by providing jobs & great BBQ for 60 years,” Bessinger said to ABC Columbia News

Also according to AP News, Piggie Park has an ugly history of racism. The outlet reports that in 1964, a waitress at Piggie Park refused to serve two Black customers. Piggie Park’s owner, Maurice Bessinger supported not serving the Black customers. A lawsuit was filed, and a federal judge ruled against Bessinger. 

AP News adds that the U.S. The Supreme Court called Bessinger’s argument of religious freedom “patently frivolous.” 

Also, in 2000, at the height of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protests, Bessinger was against South Carolina law calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol, according to AP.

The lawsuit by the unnamed woman is claiming negligent supervision and accusing Harrison of “intentionally inflicting emotional distress, assault and battery.