‘Minorities need not apply’: Controversial help wanted sign lands restaurant in hot water

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‘Minorities need not apply’: Controversial help wanted sign lands restaurant in hot water
WATCH ABOVE: The owners of a South Carolina restaurant say it was a misunderstanding over the English language which led them to post this "Help Wanted" sign. – Feb 2, 2017

A South Carolina community is outraged after a local restaurant posted a help wanted sign reading “Minorities need not apply.”

But the owners of the restaurant say it was a simple misunderstanding over the English language which led to the sign, not an active attempt at discrimination.

The controversy began when a customer at Kenny’s Home Cooking in Spartanburg, S.C., posted a photo to Facebook Saturday showing a help wanted sign in the restaurant’s front window, one that clearly reads “Minorities need not apply.”

“From the look of things they do not hire minorities, so they won’t get this minority’s money!” the post reads.

The post soon went viral, with many calling for a boycott or even for the local government to take action.

“That day we probably only had 20 customers, and me and the other girl that was working, we didn’t make hardly any money,” Melonie Henderson, a server at Kenny’s Home Cooking, told WYFF-4 News. “We had phone calls all day harassing us.”

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However, the owners of Kenny’s Home Cooking say the sign wasn’t intended to ward off minorities, but was instead a result of a misunderstanding of the English language.

Sook “Sue” Shin, who is Japanese, says her Korean husband ordered the sign on Ebay believing it read “minors need not apply” and was not aware of its inflammatory nature until the complaints started coming in.

“I never ever meant that, so I’m really sorry. Please forgive me,” Shin told WYFF News 4 when asked about the sign on Tuesday.

The offending sign has since been removed, replaced with a letter asking customers to forgive the misunderstanding.

“Dear Customers. I am the owner Sue. I am really sorry for the sign that posted earlier. I didn’t know what it meant. After I know, I took it off immediately. English is not my first language. And I never thought about it again. I sincerely apologize for everything.”

WYFF News 4's Mike McCormick

Employees at the restaurant say they hope the apology will be enough to stop the complaints and see previous customers return.

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“The thing about it is, there’s all kind of minorities in here that work. Our owner, she’s Japanese. We have Spanish cooks. We have a black dishwasher,” Henderson said. “All of our customers are [of] different nationalities. We don’t discriminate against nobody.”

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