Former American Idol runner-up Bo Bice took to Facebook on Monday, January 2, to tell his fans that he experienced racism at a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen inside the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport last week.
The singer, 41, who was runner-up to Carrie Underwood on season 4 of the singing competition in 2005, claimed in a January 3 interview with Fox 5 News that a Popeyes employee named Shawana belittled him by calling him “white boy.”
“If tables had been turned and I used something as insensitive like that… I would be boycotted, people wouldn’t buy my albums,” Bice tearfully explained. “It’s time for us to wake up and start having some dialogue. It’s not 1960, it’s 2017 and we are all adults here.”
On Monday, he elaborated on the incident via Facebook. “After laughing at and mocking my name (Bow-Bow, Boo-Boo, Bo-Bo) for 5 minutes straight with other employees, then when my order came up for a second time (because she rang it up twice, goes to show how on top of things they were) they called out ‘BO-BO,”’ to which she referred to me in a condescending tone as ‘The White Boy’ to her fellow Popeyes teammates,” Bice wrote on alongside a picture of Shawana and a fellow coworker. “They all had a good laugh over it. Even the manager you see in the photo beside Shawana.”
During his chat with Fox 5, Bice said that he was willing to appear petty to spark a discussion about racism. “And the fact that I’ve got to sit on TV and come down a notch and look like a petty little brat by tweeting and Facebooking this just to open up dialogue so we can have an adult conversation about this is ridiculous,” he said through more tears. “And America, you should be ashamed.”
For their part, Popeyes revealed in a statement to Fox 5 that Bice has received an apology from the store’s general manager and that the worker who made the racist remarks has been suspended.
“Mack II Inc. is very sorry that the incident occurred and for any pain or embarrassment that Mr. Bice experienced,” the statement read. “The company does not condone the behavior of one of our associates and we took corrective action as soon as we were made aware of the incident. Also, we will require re-training of our associates to ensure this isolated incident does not occur again. In addition, Mr. Bice has been issued an apology by the General Manager. We value all of our customers regardless of race, religion, age, disability, gender, etc.”
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