Racist Red Lobster Receipt Rube Was Framed, Handwriting Expert Says

A controversy that erupted over a racist Red Lobster receipt and who may be responsible for the offensive expletive on slip — and Devin Barnes denies that he wrote the “n-word” seen in an image that later went viral, even bringing in a handwriting expert to clear his name.

Backing the truck up, Barnes became enmeshed in the racist Red Lobster receipt controversy after server Toni Christina Jenkins posted a pic of the slip on her Facebook page. Jenkins added the pic early in September, and soon the image was being passed around and going viral.

What it showed was pretty upsetting. In the tip field, Barnes admits he wrote “none,” and bad or absent tipping is a point of contention on the web, certainly.

But in the second field after the “none,” where the total is meant to be calculated, someone added the word that created the racist Red Lobster receipt controversy. So the slip read, “none, n*gger.”

Actually, given that the Red Lobster server’s claims involved both a lack of tip as well as racism, this tale was guaranteed to implode on the web, and it did. Eventually, AddictingInfo’s Matthew Hanson started an online tip jar called “Tips for Toni” and netted $10,749 for Jenkins — on a missed tip for a $44.53 bill.

Hanson explained he felt compelled to act because he wanted to send “a message to racists that Americans aren’t going to tolerate that,” and said the ten grand was raised in just three days.

Jenkins says she “literally screamed” when Hanson gave her a check on September 30, and she adds:

“I was just so thankful. I felt so blessed and so honored that so many people came together on my behalf to give this to me.”

After the racist Red Lobster receipt went viral, she was also briefly suspended — but the company reinstated her, and said in a statement:

“We are disgusted by the language used on this guest check and it has no place in our restaurant or anywhere else. We were in constant communication with [our server] throughout this situation and have extended her a high degree of respect and caring for what happened. No one should have to endure what our employee went through.”

As Jenkins was comforted by the web, however, Devin Barnes says he didn’t leave a tip because he was in a rush and is horrified by the attention — he explains:

“They’re asking me, ‘If you’re that cheap, why would you even go to a place like Red Lobster?’ But what they don’t understand is that my wife and I were in a hurry, we had to get out the door.”

Yahoo says that Jenkins received a better tip from the internet and a lot of leeway at work, but Barnes’ life has been a nightmare — the site reports:

“The picture of the receipt contained confidential information about Barnes, including his name, the last digits of his card number and his illegible signature. Barnes said he had to change his banking information and order a new debit card… Barnes decided he would file the suit after consulting with attorney Richard Dugger, who’s also his pastor. They have yet to determine on what grounds they would sue the company. To support his case, however, they sent samples of his and his wife’s handwriting to a forensic document examiner, who determined that their handwriting was not a match to the one on the receipt, they said.”

Dugger believes that the racist Red Lobster receipt’s real victim was Barnes and not Jenkins. According to the pastor slash attorney, Barnes was “cyberbullied” by the viral receipt. It is not clear if Barnes can sue the chain or if so, on which grounds.