The NAACP in Lee County is apologizing after accusing a downtown Fort Myers restaurant of white supremacy.
Lee County NAACP President James Muwakkil said he admits he did not do a full investigation before making the accusation against First Street Restaurant.
After making such a bold statement, Muwakkil is offering an apology to the restaurant’s owner.
While Muwakkil believes everyone involved made mistakes, those mistakes did not rise to the level of white supremacy.
“I came out firing,” Muwakkil said. “I came out swinging.”
Muwakkil said he should have investigated first.
“Our inquiry did not prove white supremacy,” Muwakkil said.
“I am a man of integrity and when I lay down at night I have to know without a shadow of a doubt that I have not intentionally or unintentionally hurt any person,” Muwakkil added.
The Lee County NAACP went after the restaurant after a woman claimed the owner backed out of an agreement to hold a series of day parties after a manager said she’d never seen so many Black people at one time.
Then, when she and her supporters held a sit-in, the staff told only Black customers to leave, blaming it on a problem in a kitchen.
The owner said the manager who made the comment no longer works at the restaurant and that everyone was asked to leave.
The owner provided WINK News with a video showing an employee going to multiple tables telling them of the issues in the kitchen.
Muwakkil also got a copy.
The video tells a different story.
“You saw her go to the Black table, then go to the white table, the white table, the white table, the Black table. It did not measure up to be white supremacy,” Muwakkil said.
Muwakkil said he is sorry for his role in attacking the restaurant.
“It ends here with the NAACP,” he said. “Right now, it ends right now.”
The woman who initially made the accusations did not respond to WINK News for comment.
The restaurant owner said he received the apology but he has no comment. He said he would release a statement soon.