Reported by SARAH TAYLOR | September 21, 2021
Black Lives Matter protesters gathered outside of Carmine’s restaurant in New York City on Monday, accusing the famed Italian-American eatery of racism. The protest took place just days after a group of black women physically attacked a Carmine’s hostess who questioned their vaccine cards and said that the hostess — an Asian woman — used the N-word before the attack.
A Patch report noted that a crowd of protesters showed up just a door down from the Upper West Side restaurant on Monday night demanding Carmine’s be “canceled” and during a press conference called for an end to vaccine passports. In remarks, activist Kimberly Bernard said, “This vaccination card mandate to create more Sandra Blands, and more Breonna Taylors, it ends here. Consider yourself served. Cancel Carmine’s!” The accompanying crowd echoed Bernard’s sentiments, according to the report, crying, “Cancel Carmine’s!” in response.
Activist Hawk Newsome, founder of the BLM Greater New York Chapter, added, “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.”
Another speaker added, “We will not sit by and allow you to use this pandemic, vaccine mandate, and masks as reasons to throw us in prison.”
“At one point, the demonstrators moved directly in front of Carmine’s, using a microphone to yell into the restaurant,” the report added. “Early on during the media conference, a white woman passed by and loudly said, ‘This is nonsense’ before walking away. A flurry of ‘boos’ followed her.”
Fox News reported that many of the demonstrators also chanted, “F*** you, Carmine’s!” “Carmine’s are racist!” and “Carmine’s are racist!”
Content warning: Rough language:
Authorities say that suspects Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44; Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21; and Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49, assaulted a 24-year-old Asian female hostess on Thursday after the woman asked to see their COVID-19 vaccination cards. The three were arrested following the incident and charged with assault and criminal mischief.
Justin Moore, whom Fox News reported is “legally representing one of the three women,” said that the unnamed hostess “used a racial slur and was condescending to them while suggesting their vaccine cards were fake.”
The restaurant in a statement denied all wrongdoing and said, “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.”
The statement continued, “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. 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.”