Crystal Everitt was breastfeeding her 1-year-old son in a Denny’s restaurant when she was asked by a manager to cover up. When Everitt declined to do so, the police were called and she was told that she would have to leave or be arrested for trespassing. The Denny’s in question is in Asheville, North Carolina. The manager told the Asheville Citizen-Times:
In this particular case, this guest was exposed in a manner that was causing discomfort toward other guests to the point of them complaining to management and leaving the restaurant.
The manager clearly needs an education in the North Carolina indecent exposure law, which provides:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breast feed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding.
Got that? “… irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered….” Interesting how over and over companies seem to think they do not have to comply with the law if doing so makes other customers uncomfortable. One would hope they would learn a lesson from the national nurse-ins at Applebee’s and the like.
Unfortunately, it seems that the North Carolina law suffers from the same loophole that Texas law does. There is no enforcement provision, and it can be argued that the trespassing law trumps the breastfeeding law. Watch the local news coverage to hear the explanation from the local police (it’s quite a detailed piece and I am impressed the incident got such extensive coverage!) At any rate a breastfeeding mother cannot afford to challenge the police officer in the moment, because as Everitt said, she could hardly breastfeed her child from jail!
Now Everitt seeks an apology from Denny’s. If she receives such apology, she will meet with other nursing mothers and activists at the Denny’s in question for a meal. If not, a breastfeeding rally will be held outside the restaurant and at other Denny’s locations around the nation.
When: Sunday, February 22, 2009
Where: Denny’s restaurants nationwide, and at the Asheville, NC Denny’s in particular at
675 Patton Ave
Asheville, NC 28806
To participate and receive updates on the plans: Join the Yahoo discussion group formed for the nurse-ins
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Photo credit: gnr