An Illinois gas station worker was fired after telling two Hispanic customers ‘to go back to their country’ just days after President Donald Trump was widely-condemned for tweeting a similar racist trope.
The altercation was caught on a now-viral video with more than 706,000 views, adding fuel to current conversations about the treatment of people of colour in America.
In the video posted to Facebook on Tuesday (July 16), the Bucky Express shop worker, unnamed, is seen arguing with two Latina women. He accuses the customers of being illegal citizens before making reference to controversial immigration enforcers, ICE.
‘I’m an American,’ he tells them, pointing at his chest.
‘And?’ one of the women responds. ‘What is your problem?’
‘It’s illegal,’ he replies. The shamed shop worker then proceeds to tell the women to go back to their country.
‘You’ll be sorry,’ he says. ‘ICE will come.’ As the women leave the store, the man is heard saying, ‘Bye. God bless you. You have the wrong country.’
Stephen Kalhorn, legal counsel at Buchanan Energy which owns Bucky Express, said to press:
Clearly, there was an altercation, and he didn’t react well. And we don’t treat customers that way, that’s why he’s no longer an employee.
According to CBS News, the man was initially suspended from his position but has now been dismissed as of Thursday (July 18, 2019).
Bucky Express also posted an official statement to Facebook:
Recently, a video was posted on social media of a Bucky’s associate engaged in a confrontation with a customer. The comments made by the associate are not reflective of the core values of Bucky’s Convenience Stores.
We apologize to all of the individuals that were affected by this associate’s inappropriate behavior. As with all personnel matters, we did a full investigation and determined this individual’s behavior was unacceptable.
He is no longer employed by us. We do not tolerate any behavior that is insensitive to our valued customers…
Many have drawn a comparison between the incident in Illinois and Donald Trump’s recent tweets calling for four congresswomen of colour to ‘go back’ to their ‘home countries’ – even though all are US citizens.
Despite an international and domestic backlash, the president stood firm behind his comments. During a rally on Wednesday night (July 17), the POTUS dedicated 20 minutes of a lengthy speech to further criticising the group and targeting Somali-born, US citizen Ilhan Omar. His comments led to the 8,000 attendees chanting ‘send her back!’
Donald Trump recently said he ‘felt badly’ about ‘send her back’ chants directed at Omar before defending the ‘incredible’ crowd.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected].
L’Oréal Blackett is a freelance journalist, broadcaster, and presenter with a lot of hair and a lot to say. A former digital magazine editor covering women’s issues and local news, she now works for a range of media publications including BBC Radio Manchester, Bumble and of course, UNILAD.