We were happy to get a return call from Zenyata White yesterday. She apologized for not getting back to us more quickly as she'd been busy with new fewer than five different news stations and calls from CNN affiliates after the what happened at District American Kitchen on Sunday.
She gave us the same description of the night about how "were just having a beautiful time and it was completely interrupted by nonsense." A manager approached them and said that they would have to leave and "get a room." While he seemed apologetic afterward, and offered them drinks the next night, they still felt slighted. Trying to salvage a special anniversary day, they "ended up going for karaoke at the end of the night."
White posted the events of the evening on her Facebook wall and was surprised by the reaction. "When we shared on Facebook, we had expected our friends to say things like 'it's okay' -- and console us."
What she found when she woke up was quite the opposite.
"I had 50 posts on my wall. My phone and email went crazy," White said.
The women hadn't expected to become overnight advocates but welcome the opportunity to be a voice. "We're trying to educate people and hope to teach staff about better ways to handle it," she said.
We asked what she thought they could have done differently. "There are several ways," she thought. "One, is to say something like 'I'm in a difficult situation, these men feel uncomfortable....' Or going along with their ethics code and saying to the men that they can decide to leave or not."
District American Kitchen's Facebook page is where the social media explosion had one of the biggest fires. We heard that some comments were deleted, and we saw that people posted strong feelings in favor of the restaurant (including some past employees), some in support of the women but ultimately, we saw that people wanted the truth and to know what positive change was going to occur to bring education and awareness.
"We did speak with the hotel manager [Tuesday] afternoon. We talked about learning workshops and make it positive...We were offered to stay at the hotel and other things that they can offer as a hotel...but I like my own bed."
Leo Percopo issued another statement today on District American Kitchen's Facebook page:
We were curious about their reaction to people in support of them wanting to boycott the restaurant with petitions and otherwise.
"People are outraged, of course," she explained. "But, it was more of a personal situation with the gentleman. I'm not going to say don't go there, but I don't feel comfortable." She doesn't want the manager in question to be fired, she just wants some education and awareness. "I'm trying to create positivity," she explains.
Equality Arizona, who has been mediating this situation, has updated their Facebook page:
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SHOW ME HOW
White explains, "we want to show our friends and children that it's good to stand up for your rights -- and yourself."