A Porsche employee caught on video taunting and harassing a group of Black patrons at an upscale Atlanta restaurant has been fired, the company announced Wednesday.
Kodili Okechukwu captured the moment employee Sonya Pate sat down at Okechukwu and her friends’ reserved seating at the Overdrive Lounge in Solis Two Porsche Drive in Atlanta and refused to leave. In the end, it was Okechkwu and her guests who were booted from the upscale lounge.
Okechukwu, who is Black, said she believes the incident was racially motivated.
Video of the encounter went viral on social media, sparking immediate outrage. Critics even took to the restaurant’s Yelp! page, inundating it with negative reviews.
“… Porsche of Annapolis was saddened and sorry to hear about the incident at an Atlanta hotel involving one of our employees,” the company wrote on its Facebook page. “Please know that Porsche of Annapolis doesn’t tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. After an investigation, we have made our decision and terminated that person’s employment.”
According to a now-deleted LinkedIn profile, Pate was employed as a customer experience manager for the company.
The bizarre encounter unfolded on Friday as Okechukwu and her friends were enjoying a birthday dinner at the restaurant. That’s when a random woman, later identified as Pate, helped herself to a seat at their private table. Despite repeated attempts to explain their table was reserved, Okechukwu said Pate refused to leave.
“We told her it was a private table and she proceeded to ask us where was the reserved sign,” she recalled. “After continuously asking her to leave our table, she told all of us to ‘shut the f*ck up’ and that she wasn’t gonna leave.”
Footage from the incident shows Pate comfortably seated in their area with a wine glass in hand.
“So you’re not gonna leave our reserved table,” Okechukwu asks. “You’re not going to leave?”
“Why would I leave?” Pate replies smugly, cheesing at the camera.
“Because it’s not your table, and you look crazy right now!” Okechukwu says, growing frustrated. “You look so disrespectful … You’re drunk ma’am and you look crazy.”
A manager walks over to defuse the situation, but Pate still refuses to leave their section. Words were then exchanged between the manager and the group, after which Okechukwu says she and her friends were booted the restaurant.
The lounge denies this, however.
“… In response to a recent guest disturbance in the lounge, we have had the opportunity to personally meet with and express our apology to some of the guests whose night was disrupted,” Solis hotel said in a statement to CBS 46. “We have reviewed the occurrence thoroughly, and want to be clear that these guests were not asked to leave the premises.”
“Solis Hotel’s mission is to provide welcoming hospitality to all guests, without prioritizing any guest over another, to experience the food and beverage outlets and amenities of the hotel,” they added.