Philly Checkers shut after worker claimed he spit on food, others had sex with customers

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Checkers on the 7100 block of Stenton Avenue in West Oak Lane was shut down after an employee claimed he spit on food, used buns to clean the floor, sold weed through the drive-through and watched employees have sex with customers. The employee, an aspiring comedian and rapper, said it was all a publicity stunt.

A Checkers restaurant in Philadelphia was shut down and several employees were fired after a worker, in what he now calls "a publicity stunt," posted a video describing how he wiped the floor and blew his nose using hamburger buns, spit and sneezed on food, and claimed workers were having sex with customers in the kitchen.

The drive-thru on the 7100 block of Stenton Avenue in West Oak Lane voluntarily closed Sunday and remained shuttered Tuesday morning. A manager said he planned to reopen the restaurant Thursday.

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc. went into immediate crisis mode after learning the video had gone viral over the weekend.

“The employees involved will be terminated. The restaurant will be fully sanitized and re-inspected before it opens and all of the team members will be fully retrained,” said a statement by Checkers.

The restaurant was last inspected by the Health Department on Sept. 26, when an employee was cited for not using soap and warm water to wash his hands, another was noted for not wearing hair restraints, and food was found being held at hazardous temperatures. 

The Philadelphia Department of Health confirmed the restaurant had closed without being prompted by the city. Officials had reviewed some of the video, said spokesman Jeff Moran. "But we found it offensive and mostly unrelated to food service, and stopped viewing," he said.

The Checkers is due for a reinspection because of its unsatisfactory review on Sept. 26, Moran said. The video can't be used by the city against the restaurant. 

"Department sanitarians must act on what they observe first-hand during an inspection, not allegations," Moran said. "Any future action will be based on the outcome of the reinspection."

Richard Benson, the employee who created the expletive-laden, 44-minute video, told NBC10 he was sorry for what he had done.

“Basically it was a publicity stunt that went wrong,” said Benson, a self-described comedian and musician who raps under the name King Phantom. “Now a lot of people don’t got jobs because of me and I feel bad. Because it all was a joke. It just went wrong.”