Denzel Skinner Youngstown Ohio Taco Bell worker claims being fired by fast food outlet for wearing BLM face mask only for chain to reverse course after social media meltdown.
Denzel Skinner, wearing the mask, went live on Facebook on June 8, saying he was losing his job at a Taco Bell location in Youngstown, Ohio.
‘This is crazy, all because I got a Black Lives Matter mask on, that I’m losing my job,’ the employee says in the video. ‘We can wear any type of masks.’
An unidentified voice in the video tells Skinner the mask had to be plain and that he ‘can’t bring politics into the building.’
‘Bro, I’m not bringing politics in,’ Skinner responds. ‘This is what I’m standing for. How is this considered politics?’
‘They didn’t have any fine print on it. It just said we have to wear a mask.’
Denzel Skinner had been a shift leader at the restaurant location for eight years, he told WKBN-TV, adding that the store’s air conditioning had broken, which meant the surgical masks provided to employees made it harder to breathe when it was too hot.
So he decided to switch to the Black Lives Matter face mask, which was easier to breathe through.
A manager told him to take it off, but he refused and headed for the door, according to the report. He was then told if he walked out, he would be fired — and that’s what happened
In an interview with WFMJ Skinner said that masks became a requirement for employees on May 4, and that the notice ‘didn’t have any fine print on it. It just said we have to wear a mask.’
— elijah daniel (@elijahdaniel) June 18, 2020
‘If the governor and governments are requiring us to wear masks, we should be able to wear any type of mask that you want,’ he told WFMJ. ‘And not only that, I still want everyone to believe that we still need justice for what is happening in this world and people need to be held accountable for whatever mistakes that they make. Black lives are going to always matter. Not just when some people want it to matter. It will always matter.’
Taco Bell apologized for the incident in a statement to Business Insider, saying it was ‘disappointed to learn about the incident’ and that ‘we believe Black Lives Matter.’
‘Our Chief People Officer and Yum!’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer spoke with Denzel last week to apologize and discuss the situation,’ the statement continued. ‘Our goal is to ensure our policies are inclusive and keep our team members and customers safe.’
Anyone who wears a mask with their nose or mouth uncovered is defeating the purpose. An employee wearing a #BLM mask is making a political statement.
Protest away from work, keep your job.
— Name cannot be blank (@Smokingthefiltr) June 18, 2020
Politics at work?
‘While our policies at restaurants do not prohibit Team Members from wearing Black Lives Matter masks, we are working to clarify our mask policy so this doesn’t happen again.’
Read another release via USA Today: ‘While our policies at restaurants do not prohibit Team Members from wearing Black Lives Matter masks, we are working to clarify our mask policy so this doesn’t happen again.”
Skinner’s video has since led to an onslaught of comments on social media.
‘Fighting for Black lives is not a political issue,’ one person tweeted, while another commented: ‘If Taco Bell is going to fire someone for supporting Black Lives Matter then I sure as hell am not going to spend a single dime at Taco Bell.’
Another wrote: ‘I guarantee that Taco Bell wouldn’t have fired someone who wore a ‘Make America Great Again’ mask.”
Taco Bell’s CEO Mark King addressing the recent civil upheaval in the US sparked off by the death of black man, George Floyd by Minneapolis police also released an open letter.
Fast food vendors about face following threat of customer no show
‘I’m a white male,’ King wrote, per Business Insider. ‘I grew up in the Midwest and now live in Southern California, where the Black population is a small percentage of the community. I will not pretend to understand the weight of the years of injustice and inequality that our Black friends and colleagues have experienced.’
The letter also said the company’s corporate office held a panel on combatting systemic racism.
Taco Bell is just one more restaurant on a growing list of those changing their policy in regards to Black Lives Matter attire.
Last week, Starbucks reversed its own policy and is allowing employees to wear Black Lives Matter pins or T-shirts after it had previously banned them. It wasn’t immediately clear why the coffee chain had banned workers wearing BLM item in the first place.