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An 18-year-old employee a Publix grocery store in Lehigh Acres, Fla., quit his job recently after being told he could not wear a “Black Lives Matter” mask while working.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Quinton Desamours said he came to work earlier this month with a mask in which he wrote the letters “BLM,” which is an acronym for Black Lives Matter.
However, shortly after he got to work on June 6, Desamours told the paper he was stopped by an assistant manager who had a problem with the mask.
He told the paper that at the time, the supervisor said he “was endangering myself and everybody else who worked there.”
“Then he said he couldn’t have me out on the floor with that mask on,” Desamours recalled.
The teen then said he quit his job shortly thereafter, having been at the store only for about a month and a half, adding: “I don’t want to be a part of a company that’s not committed to making a change.”
He noted further, “We have to make people uncomfortable to get change,” the Star reported.
“This was never a political statement to me. It was all about equality and human rights,” Desamours said.
In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, Maria Brous, a spokesman for the grocery chain, said it was company policy to forbid employees from wearing anything with “non-Publix messaging on clothing or accessories.”
This, after the company’s CEO, Todd Jones, in a letter to the chain’s 220,000 workers, said, “Like you, I’m saddened and unsettled by any racial injustice or events that divide our country.”
Black Lives Matter. We continue to listen to our partners and communities and their desire to stand for justice together. The Starbucks Black Partner Network co-designed t-shirts with this graphic that will soon be sent to 250,000+ store partners. pic.twitter.com/Wexb45RcTE
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 12, 2020
The coffee chain also said it was purchasing 250,000 Black Lives Matter t-shirts branded with the Starbucks logo that employees could wear while at work.
Starbucks came under fire for disallowing BLM attire while continuing to pass out pins and other outerwear celebrating LGBTQ rights and Pride Month.
As to Publix’s attire policy, earlier this month in an interview with ABC7, a local affiliate, Desamours said, “Honestly I was just speechless.”
He added, “Many, many employees have different designs on their masks. There is an employee that has a comic strip on his mask. So, it seems like they just didn’t like the message I was trying to portray.”
The local ABC affiliate did not say whether Desamours described the comic strip in any way or if it contained a ‘political message.’
“They say they stand for justice against racism and inequality but as soon as I stand up against something in their uniform, they don’t like it,” he told ABC7.
The Hill reported that on Publix’s website, the company announced it will be donating $1 million to the National Urban League. But that wasn’t good enough for Desamours.
“Their words don’t stand behind their actions,” he said. “We’re at a tipping point in America. Change has to come now and I’m happy that I’m part of the generation that brings the change.”
While advocates for Black Lives Matter successfully pressure companies to make accommodations for them, others are suffering for expressing their own views.
For example, Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy was forced to issue a mea culpa after a photo of him wearing a t-shirt with the One America News Network’s logo on it offended the team’s All-American running back Chuba Hubbard.
The scatback took to Twitter to announce he would not play for the team until “things change.”
I will not stand for this.. This is completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it’s unacceptable. I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE. https://t.co/psxPn4Khoq
— Chuba Hubbard (@Hubbard_RMN) June 15, 2020
The response from Hubbard, who is on a full scholarship, was supported by Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis, who issued a statement condemning “insensitive behavior.”
“I hear and respect the concerns expressed by our Black student-athletes,” the school president said in the statement. “This is a time for unity of purpose to confront racial inequities and injustice. We will not tolerate insensitive behavior by anyone at Oklahoma State.”
Shortly afterward, Gundy and Hubbard made a video in which the head coach ‘admitted’ to wearing something inappropriate, and vowed — along with Hubbard — to bring “change.”
Some pundits, including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, have warned that the Left is using Black Lives Matter and other alleged civil rights movements to badger, cajole, and shame critics into silence.
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