Message in front of Sonic Drive-In up for less than 10 minutes, but social media preserves offensive message
BELTON, MISSOURI — The sign in front of the Belton, Missouri Sonic Drive-In restaurant was up for less than a ten minutes on Sunday morning, but with the advent of social media, the image of the message went around the web like wildfire and drew the ire of American Indians across Indian country.
The sign read: “‘KC CHIEFS’ WILL SCALP THE REDSKINS FEED THEM WHISKEY SEND – 2 – RESERVATION.”
The Sonic message board sign was put up by an employee of the Sonic at the location nothing to do with any product sold at the restaurant. The Sonic Drive-in restaurant in Belton, Missouri is a franchise location.
“The sign was up for less than ten minutes, but with social media it will be around for a while,” commented Robert Stone to the Native News Online on Monday morning. Stone is the Sonic franchisee who owns and operates the Belton location. He owned the restaurant for the past 39 years.
“On Sundays, we give our employees freewill to put up football messages on the sign. This employee got carried away. It came down as soon as customers began to call in because they were offended,” continued Stone. “On behalf of the entire restaurant, I sincerely apologize and it will never happen again.”
On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs played the Washington NFL team in Landover, Maryland.
“Clearly, the remarks on this sign were offensive, unacceptable and just plain wrong. The remarks have been removed and this franchise owner has counseled his employees on what is acceptable and unacceptable,” commented Patrick Lenow, vice president of media relations for Sonic to the Native News Online on Monday morning.
“Amazingly, passion for a football game overrode good judgment. On behalf of the franchise owner and our entire brand we sincerely apologize for the offense. The employee has been reprimanded and understands the pain it inflicted,” Lenow continued.
Sonic Drive-In is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and has 3,500 restaurants in 44 states in the United States.
“All staff members can benefit from this,” Lenow said.
Editor’s Note: Due to the offensive nature of name of the Washington NFL team, tt is the policy of the Native News Online not to use the name in print. However, since the offensive word was used in the photograph, this publication is making an exception in this article.