According to a report from The Daily Wire, 22-year-old Eugenior Joseph was intimidated by members of the restaurant’s staff for wearing a red Make America Great Again hat during dinner with his mother and girlfriend.
“I got up and went to the restroom, my girlfriend followed me, and as we were walking back, a group of [the employees] came out from the back and they just started clapping and yelling, and just screaming things at me,” Joseph told the website, adding that one employee “got behind me and another coworker came by and they were staring at each other and he fist bumped him and then he started looking at me, balling his fists, smacking his fists, trying to scare me.” The report also quotes witnesses who say that staffers threatened violence and used a racial slur in reference to Joseph, who is black.
On Wednesday, the restaurant chain released a statement about the incident on Twitter. “We were very disappointed to learn that two staff members made disparaging remarks about Mr. Joseph’s hat that made him and his family feel uncomfortable,” the statement reads. “As a result, as of Tuesday those two individuals are no longer employed with the company.”
However, the company added that “not all of the information reported by the media accurately portrays what occurred,” saying that an all-staff meeting taking place at the time “may have been perceived as a crowd gathering near the guests’ tables.”
Cheesecake Factory did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, but said in the statement that their investigation into the situation in ongoing, and they have reached out to Joseph directly for further his assistance and would like to “welcome him back” into their restaurants.
On Fox and Friends Wednesday morning, though, Joseph said he will “definitely not” be returning to the establishment.