Fact Check: Anti-Trump Sign At Bojangles' Restaurant NOT Put Up By Store

Fact Check

  • by: Ryan Cooper
Fact Check: Anti-Trump Sign At Bojangles' Restaurant NOT Put Up By Store

Did an employee of the Bojangles' fast food chicken restaurant place a sign on a door banning customers who wear pro-Trump hats or shirts? No, that's not true: Bojangles' posted on Twitter that none of its employees had placed the sign on the door. Instead, it was taped on the outside of the door, indicating someone had likely placed it there as a hoax.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published by Kenneth Barnhill on March 4, 2020. It opened:

I will never eat bojangles again.

Users on social media saw this:

The post has generated thousands of shares, comments, and engagements. However, there are reasons to be skeptical about the origins of the sign.

On March 2, 2020, a Bojangles' shift manager locked the doors of a restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina, before it was scheduled to close. The restaurant was not far from where President Trump was holding a "Keep America Great" rally at the Bojangles' Coliseum. Facebook user Michael Furick first posted about the incident:

The next day, the fast-food chain apologized to customers who were unable to purchase food the night before, according to the Charlotte Observer newspaper:

A spokesman for the Charlotte-based Bojangles' told the Observer that crowds of people who wanted to eat had likely overwhelmed restaurant employees that night, which led to the doors being locked. On Wednesday, the chain publicly said on its Twitter account that was a 'bad decision.'

The controversy only worsened on Wednesday night after social media users posted a picture of a sign that had been taped on another one of the restaurant chain's front doors. The sign said:

No One Allowed In Wearing Trump Hats Or Shirts. You Will Be Asked To Leave.

Bojangles' responded to Twitter users to confirm one of its employees had not placed the sign on the door:

After the incidents, some customers had threatened to boycott the chain. The Observer reported that the sign was likely deliberately placed by a customer to fan the flames:

Many people also noted it appeared the sign had been taped from the outside of the door, suggesting it was done either as a prank or to deliberately stoke more anger toward the restaurant chain after Monday's lockout in Charlotte.

Even though a former employee had locked the doors to one restaurant earlier in the week, it is unlikely the Southern-based chicken chain would have a policy banning pro-Trump hats and shirts at any of its restaurants. The sign was likely a hoax to try to gain more social media attention after the first controversial incident. Either way, the company's official statement is that one of its employees did not place the sign on the door, and it welcomes all customers to its restaurants.

Bojangles' operates more than 750 locations, primarily in the southeastern United States and Mid-Atlantic states.

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  Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

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