Editor's note: The headline of this story has been updated. The previous headline gave the implication that the restaurant put up the sign. As the report below indicates, it is unknown who posted the sign, and police have said they believe the sign might have been posted without the business' knowledge.
Authorities have launched a criminal investigation into a sign that was reportedly posted at a Popeyes restaurant in Lake Saint Louis, Missouri, announcing that the fast-food restaurant reserved the "right to refuse service to white people."
What are the details?
A photo of the sign — which was reportedly affixed to an area in the restaurant's drive-thru — was widely circulated across social media platforms Wednesday, and said, "Effective 6-1-21 This restaurant is under new management and will reserve the right to refuse service to white people. We apologize for any inconvenience. Signed, General Manager, Mason."
The restaurant was forced to close on Wednesday over the outcry.
According to KTVI-TV, Lake Saint Louis police said that they believe someone may have erected the sign "unbeknownst to the business" and added that the sign could be related to an act of vandalism that took place at the store earlier in May. The vandalism, according to Lt. Pat Doering of the Lake Saint Louis Police Department, said that the vandalism included shattered glass and obscene messages painted on the restaurant's drive-thru menu.
A statement from the department said, "We are currently working and investigating a trespassing and possibly a related vandalism case which occurred at Popeyes located at 6475 Ronald Reagan Drive in Lake Saint Louis. Earlier this month, several drive through menu signs were spray-painted. Today, unknown subjects posted an inappropriate sign on the drive-thru window, unbeknownst to the business."
A manager, who remains unnamed at the time of this reporting, said that surveillance video of the building "confirms employees didn't post the sign."
In a statement to KTVI, Popeyes said, "We have been made aware of the situation and are investigating the matter immediately. This type of behavior does not align with our brand values and we take such allegations very seriously. The franchise is cooperating with local authorities regarding this ongoing investigation."