WILMINGTON, N.C. — A favorite breakfast spot for locals of the seaside city, White Front Breakfast House staff have been accused of mishandling an incident of alleged hate speech from a waitress to a gay couple. Although Kyle McClellan and Bobby Hilburn don’t wish for a public boycott, they say they won’t return to the restaurant they used to frequent.
The conflict began on a busy day for the breakfast house, and the two regulars asked a passing waitress to check on their coffee order.
“She rudely said, ‘No, because you’re already being taken care of,’ ” Kyle McClellan told WWAY.
Brushing off the remark, McClellan and Hilburn continued their breakfast order. They allege that the waitress escalated her language, slinging a gay slur at the couple.
“We’re waiting, standing there at the register for our food to come out. She walks up behind us and calls us a derogatory word for being homosexual,” McClellan said, “I will accept her apology, and I’m grateful she will apologize, but honestly, I probably won’t go back.”
Owner of the White Front, Yinni Ioannou, offered an apology and cited the diversity of his restaurant’s clientele.
“We have a variety of customers. Blacks, whites, any other ethnicity. We have gay people coming here, lesbians for years, and we do not discriminate,” Ioannou said. “They can get an apology any time they want to, you know?”
Despite the owner’s statement, McClellan and Hilburn plan to find another location for their breakfast outings. They say that the experience cast a shadow on their memories of the White Front, calling to mind other experiences of discrimination.
“In hearing that word, it brings back so many memories of being, you know, talked about or my hiding who I was,” Hilburn said. “I will never go back there again.”