(Editor’s note: Paragraph 3 contains language that readers may find offensive.)
By Timothy Mclaughlin
Dec 22 (Reuters) - A racist, expletive-filled rant caught on camera at a Louisville, Kentucky, mall has led to a permanent ban for a shopper and prompted an apology from the city’s mayor.
The video shows a white woman standing in a checkout line at a JCPenney department store in the Jefferson Mall and berating two women who shopper Renee Buckner, who posted the footage on Facebook on Tuesday, said were Hispanic.
“Go back to wherever the fuck you come from, lady,” the woman can be heard saying in the video, which had been viewed more than 7 million times as of Thursday.
“Hey, tell them to go back to where they belong,” the white woman continued after a store employee told her to mind her language. “They come here to live, then act like everybody else.”
The incident started, Bucker said in her post, when one of the shoppers added items to her friend’s purchase, rather than standing in line.
“(You‘re) probably on welfare,” the white woman said. “The taxpayers probably paid for all that stuff.”
After one of the Hispanic shoppers appeared to try to apologize, the woman told her to “speak English; you are in America. If you don’t know it, learn it.”
Sarah Enlow, a marketing director for the mall, said on Thursday that neither the woman who delivered the rant nor the women she was shouting at had been identified.
The Jefferson Mall, which lists Macy’s Inc and Old Navy among its other anchor tenants, said it would try to identify the woman and ban her from there permanently.
“Jefferson Mall strives to create a comfortable and convenient experience for all of our guests, and we absolutely do not condone this type of behavior,” the mall said in a statement on Tuesday.
JCPenney said in a statement that it would not tolerate such behavior in its store. Once the victims are identified, the retailer said, it would reimburse them and further apologize.
In a series of messages posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called for tolerance.
“I am sad and disappointed to see conduct like what happened at Jefferson Mall, when one person so dehumanizes another human being,” Fischer said. “As a country of immigrants, we must understand we only move forward through peace, acceptance and embracing those who are different from us.” (Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Lisa Von Ahn)