The 2007 attack on gay couple Noel Robichaux and Peter Casbar by employees of a Union City Burger King in New Jersey landed the couple a $3.15 million settlement. But that was some four years ago when the couple was chased out of the place, beat up, and spat on. Why was the burger giant even still doing business with this franchise — when the employees accused of the attack confessed to their crimes, leaving no doubt of the restaurant’s liability — after such a gruesome attack?
The Miami New Times tried to figure out BK’s corporate ignorance.
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. Better, 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.
But none of those things have happened. The Union City location still proudly wears the BK name and is, as far as we understand, still owned by the same companies.