Allie’s Donuts Rescinds Police Discount, Citing Racism, Injustice

by | Jun 7, 2020

Customers turned out in droves Sunday

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Allie’s Donuts jumped into the middle of the conversation on racial injustice and the police when it announced Saturday on social media it would no longer offer a 10 percent discount to people in the police and military. The action follows more than a week of unrest across the country prompted by the deaths of unarmed blacks at the hands of police, most recently George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

“We’re fed up. Until local police takes action to solve problems with racism & injustice, @alliesdonuts will choose to stand with the people of our great state,” read the post.

Allie’s refined its message Sunday:

Reflecting on our method of delivery, we imagine most of you were surprised by our candor. In no way did we mean to insult people & their service to our country or community… If you felt offended or insulted, Please accept our apology. We feel comfortable as a business with such wonderful customers that have respected & adored our products for over 50 years to say that we stand by our statement. It’s time to recognize the voices & stand with our fellow Black & Brown Rhode Islanders, who want to be treated equally… With love and respect, we ask our fellow Rhode Islanders, and all of the #donutfam, to take action with us. We must find ways to end systemic racism everywhere in our communities. We have decided to speak out and use our privilege to actively eliminate these things. We recognize that you may have misunderstood our meaning, and think that Allie’s doesn’t value the sacrifice and duty of police & military members. I assure you. We do. 

Their message was not welcomed by everyone. Local real estate broker Greg Dantas, an Army veteran, said he supported racial justice but that Allie’s went too far in their post Saturday. “You do need to apologize to the men and women in ALL uniforms that provide us all with the freedom that many countries do not have,” he wrote on Facebook Sunday morning. By 4 p.m. Sunday, nearly 400 people had either “liked” or “loved” his post, and most of the 279 comments on his post were in agreement.

But at Allie’s on Sunday, the line for doughnuts wrapped around the building and stretched down the sidewalk all morning. Those near the front said they’d been in line for 90 minutes. Many of them held signs – “Black Lives Matter” and “End Police Brutality” – that were passed from customer to customer. According to one of the Allie’s employees, an earlier customer had brought them and handed them out.

“This is more than taking discounts from police and military. This is a chance to stand on the right side of history to hold those accountable,” said Sam Ojih of Providence as he waited to buy doughnuts.

Aaron Kenyon of West Kingston wore a Marine t-shirt – he said he’d served active duty for six years. He said he’s a frequent Allie’s customer but said he’d come Sunday specifically to support a local business. He said he was “not at all” offended by Allie’s decision to revoke the 10 percent discount.

“We don’t serve for discounts. We serve to keep Americans safe. If they’re not safe, why would you care more about a discount? It’s disgusting to me, that Americans can die and they care more about a 10 percent discount for a doughnut,” he said of the people who were angry at Allie’s.

Brittni Howard of New London, Conn., came Sunday specifically to support the business.

“If people are dying and nothing’s being done, the message is not being heard. I’m here to show support because this is something I personally have dealt with,” she said, adding, “I do have family in the military and they agree.”

Rodney Newton of Providence said he didn’t even like doughnuts but decided to join his friends after reading Allie’s posts. In particular, he said he liked Allie’s message on Sunday. “The original message, it just wasn’t well put together. But then today’s message … I think that was well put together so they got my support 100 percent.”

Longtime Allie’s employee Jennifer Lentino said she was proud of the stance Allie’s had taken. “This has been the greatest crowd. We’ve had people here just to donate,” she said. According to a sign posted in on one of the windows, all the proceeds from Sunday would be donated to local organizations that work for justice and opportunity (RI Communities for Justice, Providence Student Union, and Amos House).

Allie’s owners, the Drescher family, declined to comment Sunday beyond their social media posts.


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8 Comments

  1. Jay

    Its not so much the discount. In fact, forget about the discount, they don’t have to offer it and never did. But their reasoning behind ending it, and subsequent lumping of ALL police and military together is equivalent to the same racism they are supposed to be standing against. Apology was too little and too late, and that is further displayed by their initial responses to the criticism on their Instagram post. Lost a customer here.

    Reply
    • SUSAN JACOBI-JOHNSON

      I support Allie’s 100%. What they did was brave and right.

      Reply
      • victor volpe

        I am with you 100%.

        Reply
  2. Paul Hoffman

    I thought the timing of this was a unique and interesting juxtaposition with the recent journalism piece The Black American Amputation Epidemic (propublica.com May 19). As most people know, diabetes can result in poor leg circulation leading to amputation. (That’s a shout out to donuts and our sugar-pushing culture.) The article discusses inherent racism that leads to poor diabetes care for blacks.

    It’s been well documented that racism in healthcare is responsible for a plenitude of deaths annually. (It’s also been documented that women receive inferior care compared with men.) Except that unlike a racist cop, a racist doctor quietly treats his/her black patient differently. No one notices, it doesn’t make the front page, and nobody marches or protests. And of course, 14,000 doctors per year don’t get injured in the line of duty.

    Racism is imbued in every American institution, and has been for its entire history. And yes, that includes the restaurant industry.

    Black Lives Matter. Donuts don’t.

    Paul Hoffman

    Reply
  3. Rob

    Police typically don’t want the discount because it does. It look proper an most will leave any discount money saved as a tip or donation as not to portray favoritism. The problem here is The company is saying all the cops are bad. We really talking about 1% who have a power trip. The 99% left help and give to the community 24/7.

    I for one will boycott Allies an will make it a point to voice my opinion to all. Allies put all Law Enforcement in a group an said you are bad. It has a familiar ring to it – What is that called ??

    We all must be patient not jump to conclusions an work this out from the top down with reforms and dialogue not smoke screens false promises and hasty decisions. We must also be careful of what is being proposed as the police that continue to protect us all, find our children, give us justice after a violent crime, protect our property an our well being. Think of all the good cops 99% who feel betrayed at that this moment. They have given everything to you to protect an serve. How motivated do you think they are going to be right now. We must support black lived matter an our Law enforcement. It is about Black-Blue & You #. to make a difference.

    Reply
    • Paul

      Excellent post.

      Reply
    • Jay

      Thank you. Well put.

      Reply
    • Michael Philbrick

      I STAND WITH ALLIES
      We do not need to support our Law Enforcement- they have a union for that. They have each other for that. How many years of unarmed African-Americans being gunned down by “1%” ? How many years of “99%” being silent cowards allowing this to happen? Black Lives Matter- to almost every American, but it’s NEVER been the case for LEOs. You preach patience – how much longer does this need to go on? NO JUSTICE NO PEACE NO PATIENCE NO PEACE
      DEFUND POLICE REFUND SCHOOLS.

      Reply

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