Burger King Gay Bashing: "A Whopper of a Hate Crime"

Categories: News
Thumbnail image for burger-king-whopper.jpg
The King, it appears, hates gay people. ​

After what an advocate called "truly one of the worst cases of a hate crime to happen in the LGBT community," a New Jersey court awarded $3.15 million to 46-year-old Noel Robichaux and 43-year-old Peter Casbar. The gay couple entered a Union City Burger King in 2007, and a trio of employees, including Angel Caraballo, 28, and Christopher Soto, 19, verbally abused them and then chased them outside and pummeled them. Caraballo and Soto pleaded guilty to aggravated assault.

"They beat us, they spit on us, and they threw us around like rag dolls," Robichaux said. "It was insane. We were astounded by the words they used. I was floored by the amount of anger and hate."

The Miami-based chain's response to the crime: a big yawn.

BK allows the restaurant to continue to operate and, until yesterday, had made no formal statement on the crime that we could turn up. Short Order phoned Arianne Cento, external affairs officer at Burger King corporate offices. She declined to comment but forwarded the following statement to New Times: "The Burger King system embraces its diverse consumer base and strives to provide every restaurant guest with the highest level of service and respect, regardless of background or sexual orientation. In addition, the safety and security of Burger King guests and employees are a top priority. Because the incident took place at an independently owned and operated franchised restaurant, and involves litigation relating to the franchisee's former employees, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on any specifics at this time."

Indeed, Burger King Corporation was not named in the lawsuit. But the chain could pull the franchise license as other chains have done. Or it could at least distance itself from this sort of behavior. It seems to blame Food Service Properties Corp. and Union City Restaurants Corp., which owned the Union City location and seven Burger King franchises at the time of the crime.

Steven Goldstein, chair and CEO of Garden State Equality, a New Jersey-based advocate group, told New Times: "This was a whopper of a hate crime. Truly one of the worst cases of a hate crime to happen in the LGBT community. We're looking to see if Burger King appeals this ruling. There can be no question that employees of Burger King beat a same-sex couple to a pulp. We will be aghast if Burger King appeals this. If they do appeal, I would imagine that everyone in the LGBT community would think twice before going into any Burger King again​."

The 98-page Burger King Franchise Statement gives guidelines about territories, food, training, and trademarks. In this document, nothing is said about responding if a store manager and/or employees beat gay people bloody because of their sexual preference. If Burger King is concerned about trademarks and appearances, it would be better served by giving a royal beheading to this Burger King franchisee rather than to issue a bland statement.

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18 comments
Eric Cromwell
Eric Cromwell

I realize that people can be bloodthirsty, savage and reflexively hateful, I'm just surprised they let them write articles. Now don't get me wrong, the 3 EMPLOYEES who assaulted Robichaux and Casbar are in my opinion disturbed and in need of help at the very least. What I take exception with is writing a hate piece swimming with inuendo and opinion that seemingly attempts to steer us. (to be angry with corporate) when the assailants are the ones that need to be ashamed , sued, and punished.  Try writing a news article instead of an OP-ED if you are going to label it news. News has no room for YOUR opinions mr reporter.

Joseph Becket
Joseph Becket

Yikesthat's scary, I remember back when there was that run of messes withthe fast food restaurants and there were things like fingers insoups, stuff like that. But this is different, makes me feel a bituneasy. BurgerKing is a great company, but like many nationwide businesses it canhave some weak spots. I was surfing the internet and I found thissite where people can vent about poor customer service or productsthey received... it can get really funny. I would recommend you tocheck it out here: http://ventme.com/companies/vi...

Diggum75
Diggum75

Oh yeah, and it sounds like Burger King is not pulling a chik fil a. It was stated clearly that they do not stand by those employees and independantly owned. So the "Hates Gays" title is a little too far.

Diggum75
Diggum75

If one is confident in their sexuality, a gay couple would'nt even faze you. Infact the subject "gay" also would not be something you'd make rude comments to unless there are hidden issues. If I am wrong, have confidence in your sexuality, SHOW confidence in your sexuality, and shut the fug up.**** You expose yourself when you make stupid and hateful comments.*** And If you feel it is within your nature to argue a point on the subject, educate yourself first. Put yourself in the society so you have and idea what the heck your talking about. I have. And if you did that,...we wouldnt be having this conversation and the haters wouldnt be making all these stupid comments against gays that you see every now and then. Education is important when trying to prove a point. Common sense helps too.

Guest
Guest

It's Burger King's problem because there is a sign on the building that says Burger King. But hate crimes aside Burger King is the absolute worst place to eat.

Eliza
Eliza

And how is this Burger Kings problem? Burger King is not being sued as these were employees of a franchisee. As they rightly say, they can't comment on ongoing litigation. Is it sick what these EMPLOYEES did? Of course. Is this Burger Kings fault? Absolutely not. Worry about the punishment of these people who committed the crime and not about getting rich.

tjpersaud
tjpersaud

Didn't the Burger King guy wake up in bed with another dude and a breakfast sandwich in a Super Bowl commercial a few years ago?

SmokedPorkAndhaM
SmokedPorkAndhaM

People! Remember this is a FRANCHISE. Of course Burger King won't appeal. They weren't even on the lawsuit!! The franchise is privately owned. They pay a license to BK for use of the name. Now, I agree that at a minimum they should get the franchise owner on the phone and berate him/her nonstop for an hour and threaten to pull their franchise license. Then also make a statement that they are reviewing their franchise police to make sure all franchises comply with tolerance laws, etc, etc. For BK this is a PR mess, but in all reality, they are not liable. Guilty by association, at best.

lakawak
lakawak

You can tell this is a blog by the crappy juveile writing.

Maxonepercent
Maxonepercent

The King hates gays? Guess that means Burger King for lunch, yum

Petframp56
Petframp56

Yeah, the juvenile spelling and grammar gives it away doesn't it?

Ang
Ang

I hope you choke!

Eblnt
Eblnt

all of you that cant take this lightly are morons.

Ehrenland
Ehrenland

LOL! Hope you choke on it, Max...lord knows, your girlfriend couldn't if she tried!

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