Sen. Thom Tillis continues to run an ad featuring a restaurant owner accused of racial bias. (Image via screenshot) US Sen. Thom Tillis ad under fire.
Sen. Thom Tillis continues to run an ad featuring a restaurant owner accused of racial bias. (Image via screenshot)

Democrats pounding Republican senator for sticking with ad, which features owner of Lancaster’s BBQ in Mooresville.  

US Sen. Thom Tillis continues to run an ad featuring a restaurant owner at the center of a federal lawsuit over racial bias, more than a week since multiple outlets reported the details of that case.

Rev. Anthony Spearman, president of the NC NAACP, says he hasn’t seen the commercial but he hopes people are paying attention. 

“With the growing appetite of this nation for there to be equity and equality across the board,” Spearman said. “My prayer is that we continue to do what we can to expose these attempts to demean people and perpetuate the legacy of racism.”

The ad, which can also be found on the US senator’s official YouTube channel, was filmed at Lancaster’s BBQ in Mooresville. Last week, The Charlotte Observer and WFAE reported that the owner, Jeff Lancaster, is being sued by a former employee of the restaurant, Shana Knox. 

Knox, who is Black, alleges that a white co-worker repeatedly called her the “n-word” and then, according to the suit, “doused her face and chest with hot barbeque sauce and hit her with a metal pan.” 

Chris Bishop, the white co-worker, was fired after the incident but re-hired four months later. 

In the ad, Tillis and Lancaster are shown seated and talking at a table as Tillis narrates. “Today, 1 million North Carolinians are out of work,” Tillis says. “Most of them (are) living paycheck to paycheck and forgotten by our politics.” 

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“It speaks volumes that Senator Tillis is spending more than a million dollars on an ad featuring someone who is being sued for racial discrimination,” Goodwin said. “Either Senator Tillis knew that this person was being sued for racial discrimination when he shot the ad or he doesn’t care.”

The Tillis campaign has not responded to requests for comment on this story.

Tillis is running for re-election this fall against Democrat Cal Cunningham. The race, considered a key tipping point for control in the US Senate, is expected to be one of the most expensive in the nation.