PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) – A popular Phenix City restaurant is apologizing after a young mother claims the owner tried to cover her up, with a dish towel, while she was breastfeeding. The owners of Giovanna’s Pizzaria say the incident is a big misunderstanding.
Phenix City mother, Katy Bullard, tells News 3 she enjoys breastfeeding her three-month-old daughter, Ashlyn.
“It’s a bond you can’t get any other way,” says Bullard.
Wednesday night, Katy and her Army Veteran husband were eating at Giovanna’s Pizzaria in Phenix City. She said when her daughter got hungry she began nursing her, covered in by a t-shirt.
“Unless you were really looking, you would only think I was holding her,” explained Bullard.
20 minutes into her daughter’s feeding, Katy says she was approached by the restaurant’s owner.
“She told me I needed to cover up and when I told her I would not, she came over with a dish rag. I am not sure where she got the rag from, but she tried to cover my daughter and me up with it. I told her I didn’t want to be covered up and she tried again. I removed the towel and told her we would just leave. She said I didn’t have to leave, but I had to cover up because she was a Christian and I was offending her beliefs. I told her I had rights and I’d rather leave than cause a big scene,” described Bullard.
Nelson Rodriguez who owns Giovanna’s with his wife issued this statement to News 3:
“Giovanna’s has been in business for 16 years. Giovanna’s doesn’t discriminate against anyone and most certainly not individuals wanting or needing to breastfeed. We would never intentionally embarrass a client. We were honestly acting in goodwill. We are very sorry this customer felt we intentionally embarrassed her and apologized to her at the time. We never asked her to leave. In fact, we told her she didn’t have to leave. My wife was simply honestly trying to assist her. It was clearly a misunderstanding. We are a family business and always have our customers best interest at heart.”
Katy says she will not be going back to the restaurant with her family. She has no intention of hiring an attorney or trying to ruin their business; she just wants to share her experience and educate others.
“My goal isn’t to have them shut down or receive any monetary gain. I just want to be clear; what they did was wrong. There is nothing sexual or indecent about feeding a baby, and from a Christian standpoint Jesus wasn’t fed by a bottle,” said Bullard.
According to “The Bump” a parenting website; nearly every state (except Idaho) has laws specifically allowing women to breastfeed anywhere they’d like, in public or private. Breastfeeding in public is legal. 49 states with breastfeeding laws all have unique interpretations. Some focus exclusively on where you can breastfeed, while others take the workplace and jury duty into consideration.