A Taco Bell employee said he was fired after refusing to remove his Black Lives Matter mask at work June 8.
Denzel Skinner accused his boss at the Youngstown, Ohio, Taco Bell where he worked of demanding that he take off his mask and replace it with an apolitical one. The incident, captured by Skinner on a Facebook livestream, has been viewed nearly a million times on social media.
“You just fired me because I got a Black Lives Matter on. Are you serious?” Skinner said to the Youngstown Taco Bell franchisee, who is off-camera. “You told me to go home.”
— elijah daniel (@elijahdaniel) June 18, 2020
The franchisee said she doesn’t want her employees to “bring politics into the building,” video showed. She said if he doesn’t take it off, there is nothing she can do for him.
“I’m standing up for what’s right. I’m not taking it off,” he told the manager. (RELATED: Professor Discusses Recent Police Killings, The ‘Heroes And Martyrs’ Of ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement, Contemporary Mass Media)
Skinner spoke with Taco Bell’s chief people officer and parent company Yum!’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, Taco Bell told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. Both officials discussed the incident with Skinner and apologized to him.
“We believe Black Lives Matter. We were disappointed to learn about the incident that took place in Youngstown, OH. We take this very seriously; we have been working closely with our franchisee that operates this location to address the issue,” the statement reads. “Our goal is to ensure our policies are inclusive and keep our team members and customers safe.”
The company added that it is working to clarify its mask policy to avoid a similar situation.
Skinner said the first thing the franchisee said to him when he arrived at work was that he couldn’t wear the mask. He then responded saying that she doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a black person.
“You don’t fear every day when you walk out into the world,” he told her.
Taco Bell CEO Mark King wrote a letter in the wake of George Floyd’s death, saying he vowed to foster inclusion and promote diversity at the company.
Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody May 25 after an officer knelt on his neck, video showed.
The hashtag #RIPTacoBell was trending on Twitter Thursday morning after the incident.
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