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Protest Planned Against Denny’s Restaurant After Mom in North Carolina Asked to Cover Up While Breastfeeding

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So, here we are once again. A mom goes to a restaurant. Takes her baby. The baby needs to eat. The mom proceeds to breastfeed. An employee asks the mom to cover up. And the brouhaha begins.
Crystal Everitt was at the Denny’s restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina when this very thing happened to her. In fact, when she refused to stop breastfeeding or leave, the police showed up at the restaurant and said she could be arrested for trespassing.
Here’s a video interview on the local news with Crystal.
Here’s a link to her story about what happened:

Everitt said she told the manager she had the right to breastfeed and thought the incident was over until she saw an Asheville police officer and the manager walking towards her table.
The manager told her she could not stay if she continued breastfeeding, Everitt said.
The officer told her she could be arrested, not for breastfeeding but for refusing to leave the restaurant, she said.
North Carolina law allows breastfeeding in any public or private place where the woman is otherwise authorized to be. But it does not forbid business owners from asking mothers to move or cover up, said Natalie Wilson, professional liaison for the Le Leche League of North Carolina.

So now, Everitt is planning a protest at the restaurant on February 22nd. A breastfeeding advocacy group called First Right is backing Everitt. And there is even a grassroots movement to organize protests at Denny’s outside North Carolina.
Here’s the link to a Yahoo Chat group about this nurse in.
Here’s the North Carolina law about breastfeeding in public.
And laws in every state about breastfeeding in public.
And here’s a link to Breastfeeding123 which has Denny’s corporate statement in response to this incident.
So here’s my take on this: Laws protecting women’s right to breastfeed in public are a good start. And a necessary one. But it’s just the beginning. And we see this over and over again when moms are harassed for breastfeeding in public. We are still a far cry from a society that truly accepts breastfeeding. We are so conditioned to think of breasts as sexual… boobs are used to sell everything from lingerie (think Victoria’s Secret) to restaurants (think Hooters!) to perfume (check out this Calvin Klein commercial with Eva Mendes). But breastfeeding isn’t sexual. Don’t forget… we’re mammals. And mammals breastfeed in order to nourish their young.
So… where does this leave us? In a place where moms like Crystal Everitt need to speak out, to make their voices heard, and ultimately, to protect babies’ rights to eat, wherever and whenever they need to.



4 Responses to “Protest Planned Against Denny’s Restaurant After Mom in North Carolina Asked to Cover Up While Breastfeeding”

I think the way that she handled this has been fantastic. She refused to back down, she was not cowed, she knew her rights, and handled the media onslaught with aplomb.
The thing that SHOCKED me was the woman in the news video that instigated the manager’s request of Crystal to ‘cover-up.’ The WOMAN told Crystal that she was being rude and told her, and I quote, “That’s what the restroom is for.”
I probably would have been arrested for simple assault after that remark, so more kudos to Crystal.
I hope Denny’s issues a statement, because I’m furious at them. What they did was FAR more egregious than the Applebee’s incident. I’m not going near a Denny’s until they apologize.

Absolutely it is oppressive to have to nurse one’s baby in the restroom. Clearly the instigator never breastfed an infant.

Oh my. Let me say I understand that this isn’t something that should be done in secret all the time, because breastfeeding is part of life.
But, is it really that hard just to put a small blankey or something over one’s breast? Is that really too much to ask?

I’m not committed on the issue. I would like to know your reaction if a manager offered a mother a blanket, or even better a breastfeeding apron. Imagine she refused, then he called the cops for trespassing.
He planned, she didn’t. He was sensitive to the needs of everybody, she was being selfish. Right?

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