Napa Valley restaurant apologizes to South African musician Jonathan Butler after he said he was racially profiled

(NAPA VALLEY, CA) — Famed California restaurant Goose & Gander has apologized to South African musician Jonathan Kenneth Butler after an incident over the weekend in which a manager followed the singer-songwriter to his car to inquire about a tip.

Butler accepted the apology, according to the restaurant, citing wisdom from the late anti-apartheid activist and former South African President Nelson Mandela in his conversation with the owner.

Butler was in Napa Valley on Sunday to perform two shows at the Charles Krug Winery’s Blue Note jazz club. The singer-songwriter ate at Goose & Gander that same day and said that after the meal he was followed to his car by a manager who pressed him to see if Butler had “taken care” of the wait staff who served him.

In a nearly five minute video posted to TikTok and Instagram, Butler discussed the incident and why he believed he was racially profiled.

“I’m deeply offended. This stuff has to stop. We should all be treated with decency and humanity,” he said alongside the post in the caption.

Butler stated in the video that he had paid the bill and had tipped his server “very well.”

“[The manager] showed so much lack of respect for me and all of us who ate at the restaurant,” he added. “I don’t think he’ll do that to a white person, but he did it to me.”

Goose & Gander published an initial apology on Monday, stating that the incident “should never have happened” and that the manager in question had been placed on leave.

In a follow-up on Wednesday, the restaurant again apologized to Butler in a joint Instagram post with the musician, adding that the two parties had since spoken about the incident.

“Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Butler and [Goose & Gander owner Andy] Florsheim had a heartfelt, 30-minute discussion about the situation and a path forward,” a statement on the restaurant’s official Instagram page read. “Mr. Butler accepted Goose & Gander’s apology.”

“We agree that the incident never should have happened and that an important opportunity exists for the restaurant to learn and improve,” it continued. “Mr. Butler believes in reconciliation and not confrontation and cited Nelson Mandela, ‘Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear. That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.’”

“Mr. Butler will be back in the Napa Valley before the end of the year, we look forward to continuing our productive discussion in person,” the statement concluded.

According to the restaurant, the manager involved in Sunday’s incident, as well as the rest of Goose & Gander’s staff, will be working with “outside advisors with expertise in workplace sensitivity training” to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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