A 29 year-old Ohio man, Denzel Skinner, said in a now-viral video that he was fired from his Taco Bell job after refusing to take off his “Black Lives Matter” face mask last week. He worked at a Youngstown Taco Bell restaurant for eight years, was fired on June 8.
What We Know:
- In the beginning of the livestream, posted the day of his firing, an unidentified woman approaches Skinner in his car outside the restaurant and can be heard telling him that the masks need to be plain.
- “This is crazy. All because I got a Black Lives Matter mask on that I’m losing my job,” Skinner said in the Facebook Live video, which has since been viewed 32,000 times. “We can wear any type of masks.”
- “Bro, I’m not bringing politics in, this is what I’m standing for,” Skinner shot back. “Like how this is considered politics?”
- Skinner told WFMJ last week that masks became a requirement for employees on May 4, and the notice “didn’t have any fine print on it. It just said we have to wear a mask.”
- He had also worn this cover in particular because the surgical masks provided to employees make it difficult to breathe when it is warm. To make matters worse, the restaurant’s air conditioning recently broke.
- So he decided to switch to the Black Lives Matter face mask, which was easier to breathe through. “It just makes it hotter with that [surgical] mask on,” Skinner said.
- Taco Bell told USA Today Thursday that its chief people officer and parent company Yum!’s chief diversity and inclusion officer spoke with Skinner last week to “apologize and discuss the situation”.
“Our goal is to ensure our policies are inclusive and keep our team members and customers safe,” the statement said. “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.”