Lawsuit Alleges Dude Ranch Owner Asked Chef to Cook ‘Black People Food’
According to a federal lawsuit, Madeleine Pickens, owner of the Mustang Monument Wild Horse Eco-Resort and ex wife of energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, discriminated against her African-Americn employees. The Associated Press reports that Chef Armand Appling, who used to work at the ranch says that he was fired after complaining about a hostile work environment, in which Pickens requested he cook “Black People Food” like fried chicken, BBQ ribs and corn bread for the tourists staying at the dude ranch and wild horse sanctuary.
Appling also alleges he was told to fire two other African-American employees, because they didn’t “fit the image” of people she wanted working there. He says she referred to one of the employees as her “bull” or her “ox,” and said the other had “too much personality.”
Lawyers for Pickens say that regardless of whether or not the allegations are true, she is not racist and none of the comments would have been motivated by race. In court filings, her lawyers say that the comments “reflect a non-racial personality conflict and amount to discourtesy, rudeness or lack of sensitivity.”
For now, the judge has sided with Pickens, saying that Appling’s allegations aren’t enough to prove racism, but she gave Appling until January 13th to amend the suit and refile.
[image via John Harwood/Wikimedia Commons]
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