Protesters gather outside Zion Dairy Queen after racist rant by franchisee

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Sunday, January 8, 2017
Protesters outside a now closed Zion Dairy Queen after a franchisee used racial slurs against a customer.

ZION, Ill. (WLS) -- Protestors gathered Saturday outside a now closed Dairy Queen in the northern suburbs, where the franchise owner used racial slurs against a customer.

The incident happened last week in Zion. Owner James Crichton admitted using the 'N' word several times, against customer Deia Ford.

Ford, a mother of two, said she went to Dairy Queen in Zion for food Wednesday morning. She said she didn't receive her full order and asked for a refund, and did not expect what happened next when Crichton approached her. She said Crichton used racial slurs in front of her two young children.

Dairy Queen announced Friday that it's terminating Crichton's franchise rights.

"Just how quickly everything happened i mean it's been what a few days and the support and everything that's happened is just overwhelming. I'm absolutely amazed on how everything turned out," Ford said.

Ford said she appreciates that Dairy Queen took action so quickly.

Crichton issued an apology at the same time, saying, "What I said was not appropriate and is something I cannot take back. I have no excuse. I can only ask for forgiveness and try to make it up to all involved. As a start, I, along with my employees, will undergo sensitivity training."

Ford has retained a lawyer and is considering taking legal action.

Dairy Queen corporate headquarters in Minnesota issued a statement Friday evening saying, "The recent actions of this franchisee are inexcusable, reprehensible, unacceptable and do not represent the values of the Dairy Queen family, our employees, fans and other independent franchisees around the world. We expect our franchisees and their employees to treat every single person who walks through their doors with the utmost dignity and respect. Nothing less is acceptable."