Lost in American Idol‘s vast archives of nearly-famous ephemera is singer Bo Bice. He was a finalist who rose to fame looking like a dollar store Neil Young, singing vanilla-bean classics like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” and Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want to Be.” He finished as the runner-up to Carrie Underwood in the 2005 season of the show. Today, over a decade later, you can find him crying on local television after being called a “white boy” at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s Popeyes.
Bice told FOX 5 that he was offended when a cashier referred to him as “that white boy over there” while explaining to a co-worker which customer had ordered what. Bice, a white man, was offended and demanded an apology from corporate. When he didn’t get one, he went on Facebook to complain about the “racist double standards that have infested our society.” And since that wasn’t enough, Bice went to FOX 5, who introduced him as “a father, a husband, but not a racist.”
“If tables had been turned and I used something as insensitive like that,” Bice said. “I would be boycotted, people wouldn’t buy my albums, there would be people coming and picketing at my shows.”
FOX 5, being the fastidious journalistic organization that it is reached out to Popeyes, who finally followed up with an apology.
We will require re-training of our associates to ensure this isolated incident does not occur again. In addition, Mr. Bice has been issued an apology by the General Manager. We value all of our customers regardless of race, religion, age, disability, gender, etc.
But the damage is already done: Bice was in tears by the interview’s end. “The fact that I’ve got to sit on TV… and look like a petty little brat by tweeting and Facebooking this just to open up dialogue so we can have an adult conversation is ridiculous. And America, you should be ashamed.”
He probably did eat that Popeyes chicken, though.