Cafe Manager Berates Breastfeeding Mom

What would you do if you saw a manager harass mom for breastfeeding in public?

ByABC News
May 12, 2010, 2:22 PM

May 13, 2010— -- You're sipping your morning coffee at a local cafe when you overhear the manager loudly reprimanding another customer.

"Excuse me, could you do that somewhere else?" he says. "I don't want to be rude, but geez, I'm trying to run a restaurant here."

But the woman isn't causing trouble, she's just breastfeeding her baby.

The manager is relentless: "Yeah, I mean seriously, whipping your hooters out here in front of everybody?"

Suddenly the whole cafe is paying attention, but what do you do: speak up or look away?

Watch "What Would You Do?" Fridays at 9/8c

Public breastfeeding can be a touchy subject -- with strong opinions on both sides of the debate. Still, in all but three states, it is legal for a woman to nurse her baby wherever and whenever she wants.

It made us wonder: Would anyone care if a nursing mom was thrown out of a cafe for breastfeeding?

ABC News' "What Would You Do?" set out with hidden cameras to Jean Danet Bakery in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to test it. We hired actress Traci Hovel to play our nursing mom and used a lifelike doll as her baby. Thomas Kelly played our incensed cafe manager.

In one of the first scenes of the day, a middle-aged couple comes into the cafe to order some items to go when Tom begins his rant: "Oh, God! Could you do that somewhere else?"

The couple seems to notice right away, but we're not sure whose side they're on until the wife speaks up: "I have two small kids and I wouldn't do that out in public."

"It doesn't offend me, but it definitely makes me uncomfortable," her husband chimes in.

The couple isn't alone. In fact, 57 percent of Americans disapprove of public breastfeeding, according to Babytalk Magazine. Even Bill Maher has made public breastfeeding the butt of his jokes, calling it an "intimate act" he doesn't want to see in public.

Public breastfeeding has also made headlines; stories of women getting kicked out of restaurants, clothing stores, even Victoria's Secret, all because they were nursing their babies. Would anyone stick up for our nursing mom?