Comedian Ricky Smith claimed on Twitter Tuesday night that he was asked to leave an Olive Garden restaurant after asking for a new server when his waitress “said she doesn’t like serving blacks.”
The waitress was also black, he said. The Italian restaurant chain responded to Smith and his concerned followers on Twitter, saying the incident is “deeply concerning.”
“2016. Honestly am at a lost for words,” Smith wrote in another tweet. “Not leaving until the cops come and physically remove us.”
He kept his Twitter followers updated while the police came to the restaurant. And he added that the police were “cool in handling the situation,” but they did tell the comedian that the restaurant had the “right” to ask him to leave.
Smith did not identify the location of the restaurant, but the chain told TheWrap on Wednesday that the employees involved in the incident have been reprimanded.
“Our number one goal is to create a welcoming environment for every one of our guests each day. We take these allegations seriously, and discrimination of any sort will not be tolerated in our restaurants,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Olive Garden’s executive vice president of Operations has reached out to Mr. Smith to personally apologize and invite him back to our restaurant to make things right. The employees involved have been placed on leave pending the outcome of our investigation.”
Olive Garden responded to Smith’s tweets, asking him to reach out to them in a DM. Olive Garden also responded to individual responses of Twitter users who wrote comments like, “Please let the public know how you resolve this situation.”
The restaurant chain responded that “all guests are welcome at Olive Garden and we are currently investigating the matter.”
Smith founded Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere, which is an organization to support communities in a positive way while encouraging people to give with “random acts of kindness.”
Some people aren’t buying Smith’s story, though, and are accusing him of perpetrating a hoax for attention.
“I wish I had as much free time as the people currently engaged in a civil war over me not getting endless soup and breadsticks yesterday,” he tweeted Wednesday morning after retweeting a sample of the public’s skepticism of his version of the story.