Woman claims workers at Ga. Waffle House joked about nooses in front of biracial family

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — A woman claims employees at a Hall County Waffle House referenced nooses when she walked inside with her biracial family in a video that has gotten millions of views on TikTok.

The video has since sparked an investigation by Waffle House.

Attorneys who represent the TikTok user identified her to Channel 2 Action News as Angelica Tabor-Fells, who runs a well-known Georgia non-profit.

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In the video, Tabor-Fells claims that waitress and manager at the Waffle House off GA-129 in Gainesville joked about getting nooses out of a car when the family visited the restaurant on Nov. 7.

Tabor-Fells was with her 6-month-old adopted son, her 15-year-old step-daughter and her 53-year-old sister with special needs, according to her attorney, Kristy Davies, Partner Davies Hothem Injury Law.

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Her attorneys said two employees talked loudly about nooses just feet from the family’s table.

Tabor-Fells approached the waitress and asked her if she did have a noose in her car, to which the waitress replied, “Yeah, I got a noose,” her attorneys said.

“A ‘noose,’ or a rope with a loop under a running knot, symbolizes brutal hate and an era in American history when thousands of African Americans were lynched and murdered simply for the color of their skin,” her attorneys said.

Tabor-Fells said she felt threatened by the encounter and asked to talk to the manager. That’s when she learned the manager was the same employee involved in the earlier conversation.

Tabor-Fells streamed herself confronting another employee about the incident as she tried to get the food to go.

“Ma’am, can I get my ticket to go?” Tabor-Fells asks employees in the video. “Because Little Miss Thing says she needs a noose. And we’re the only Black people in here, and the manager said he has two nooses in his car. So we’re getting the h*** up outta here.”

There are no references to a noose in the video from employees, and Channel 2 Action News can’t independently confirm that racially-motivated language was used.

Her attorneys said that this is not the first episode of racial discrimination at Waffle House “as the corporate chain has faced numerous claims of racial discrimination in years past.”

Attorneys said when Tabor-Fells initially complained, she was repeatedly directed to a voicemail system.

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Waffle House said they have seen the video and gotten a complaint from Tabor-Fells.

“At Waffle House, we take allegations such as this one very seriously,” the company said in a statement. “We do not tolerate harassment or discrimination based on race. Instead, we believe in an inclusive, welcoming environment for all of our customers and Associates and a culture of acceptance and mutual respect,”

The company said they attempted to contact Tabor-Fells and were referred to her attorney.

“We intend to conduct a thorough investigation into all of her allegations, after which we will take appropriate disciplinary action,” the company said.

Her attorneys said the company only contacted Tabor-Fells after the video went viral, saying:

“It was not until the video went viral on social media that Waffle House responded to a random Twitter comment that they ‘have reached out privately to the customer in an effort to gain more information. Waffle House’s only effort to ‘gain more information’ has been through a generic email with a questionnaire regarding her experience. No additional contact nor any effort to apologize was made for an entire week.”

The incident is also being investigated by the Gainesville Police Department.

Tabor-Fells is a business owner and founder of the Level-Up movement, a non-profit organization that seeks to provide for the needs of veterans and homeless people in North Georgia.

She released the following statement:

“My family and I have been deeply and emotionally affected by the hateful words of the Waffle House employees in Gainesville, Georgia. Waffle House has a long history of sweeping racial discrimination and harassment of people of color under the rug. We are seeking to hold Waffle House and the individual employees accountable for this behavior. I am currently processing what exactly justice means in this situation, and how we, as a society, can genuinely change hearts for racial equality. I am incredibly grateful for the support received on social media, but I do request that the pursuit of justice remain civil. Let’s have meaningful dialogue about transforming hearts and ending racism. I love my community dearly and I do not condone verbal or physical threats of violence, nor do I wish to fuel the cycle of hate, harassment, or intimidation. We are calling on Waffle House to do whatever it takes to end racial discrimination and racial harassment in its restaurants.”

The incident is also being investigated by the Gainesville Police Department.