GROSSE POINTE FARMS, Mich. – The owner of Blufin Sushi in Grosse Pointe Farms is responding to claims from three black woman who said they were asked to leave the restaurant Sunday night to make room for other customers, even though there were other tables available.
Owner Joel Radu said he wants to meet the women who said they were racially targeted by a general manager at the restaurant.
"I apologize that anybody would have that experience here, and that's never what I ever want to see happen again," Radu said. "I would like the opportunity to talk to them and hear their experience and learn from it and see how we can make the changes to make sure that doesn't happen again."
The women said they were told to leave their seats at the bar and move to the waiting area. A Facebook Live video recorded shortly after the alleged incident has been shared thousands of times.
"I am not going anywhere. You chose the only black people in the establishment and asked them to get up. You are out of order," a woman on the video is heard saying.
Tanisha Prater was the one doing the recording. She said she and her friends were told to leave Blufin Sushi after they ordered food and a few drinks. They believe they were targeted by the general manager.
"She said, 'Well, there are customers who want to sit here at the bar and if you ladies aren't done we can move you over to another table,'" said Kimberly Hudson.
Adrienne Savage said there were other people at the bar but the manager only approached their group. The women said no one was seated at the bar after they left.
"My hands are shaking. I have not experienced this kind of racism in quite a long time, and honestly I don't know how to take it," Prater said in the Facebook video.
Police said the manager called them and explained she was trying to make space and she thought Prater, Hudson and Savage already had cashed out. The women said that's not true.
"As a general manager, you can easily find out who has cashed out and who has not," Savage said.
The owner said if there's a wait, the policy on the menu says customers can be asked to leave after an hour and 45 minutes. He said there was a 35-minute wait at the time, but how the policy was implemented is under review.
"Staff is always a challenge to make sure that they do and say the right things," Radu said. "I don't know how this situation was handled."
The women had been at Blufin Sushi for about two hours when they said they were approached, but they said there were empty tables available, and nobody else was asked to leave.
"I still have the feeling that there was no mistake, that she knew exactly what she was doing and that's why there was no apology that ever occurred after the incident," Savage said.
The women all live in nearby Grosse Pointe Park. They are mothers in their 40s. They are seeking charges against the general manager at Blufin. They want her charged with assault and racial discrimination.
Grosse Pointe Farms police are investigating the report.