CHESAPEAKE, Va. - It's a story that's exploded on social media. A mother breastfeeding her baby at a popular bar and restaurant in Chesapeake, is told to stop. The manager says the act was bothering other patrons.
Crystal McCullough says she and her husband met some friends for drinks at Big Woody's Bar & Grill to celebrate the Labor Day holiday. When she began breastfeeding her child, the manager approached her and asked her to be more discreet, saying patrons were complaining.
"This is a natural right that you're allowed to give your child. I said that it's the law for breastfeeding in public and that I'm allowed to do this. And then he proceeded to look at the table and saw a beer in front of me," she said.
Crystal says she had one or two sips of beer before she began nursing her nearly one-year-old child. She says she is well aware of the dangers of drinking and breastfeeding.
"At the time, I was only drinking water. I did have a beer and a shot, but that was for later. And I said, 'No I'm not.' And he said, 'Well I do have the right to refuse you service so I'll be cashing you guys out."
Furious at how the situation was handled, she took to social media to tell her story, and it blew up --some taking her side, others blasting her. But bar owners say it's not the breastfeeding they had a problem with.
"She was asked to leave because it became confrontational, and we couldn't resolve it amicably. Could we have handled it better? Sure. But this has been made out to be that we are anti-women breastfeeding in public, and that's not the case whatsoever," co-owner of Big Woody's Jeff LeRoy said.
In Virginia, it's perfectly legal to breastfeed on property owned, leased or rented by the state. But private entities have the right to ask a woman to stop.