Giant Tiger suspends employee after Indigenous man followed around store
Published Sunday, November 26, 2017 12:13PM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 27, 2017 12:17PM EST
An employee of the retail chain Giant Tiger has been temporarily suspended and the company is apologizing after an Indigenous man recorded video showing an employee following him around a store.
The video was posted on the Facebook account of Maxine Stephanie Goforth, who says it shows her youngest son facing “racial profiling and harassment.”
In the video, drywaller Zeke Bigknife can be seen with a store employee closely trailing behind him as he does groceries in Regina, Sask.
“This guy’s just following me around G.T. every time I come here,” Bigknife says in the video. “Every time I come here.”
“Hey, there’s more brown people in your store,” he adds, apparently speaking to the employee. “You should start following them around too.”
In a separate Facebook post, Bigknife says the store employee watched or followed him around on numerous previous occasions, leaving Bigknife feeling “harassed and racially profiled.”
The post states that Bigknife had spoken to the employee in question, as well as an assistant manager and a manager of the store before approaching the media.
The post goes on to state that while Bigknife “wanted to get physical” with the employee, he didn’t do that because he was concerned about what kind of example that would set for his son.
“We can't fight negativity with more negativity,” the post states. “We can only be the bigger person in these situations!”
Bigknife told CTV Regina that he felt “so uncomfortable” going into the store.
“I feel harassed. I don’t see why he has to single out me every time I go there,” he said.
Giant Tiger issued a statement saying that it takes “matters of this nature seriously.”
“What occurred in the video in question is a direct contradiction of our brand values as well as our policies and should never have occurred,” the retailer’s statement says.
“The employee in question has been suspended while we undergo an investigation,” Giant Tiger’s statement goes on. “We have reached out to the gentleman in the video directly to apologize.”
In the Facebook post, Bigknife says that he is “not satisfied” with “temporarily suspended,” and that “that no one should have to go through that.”
The video is reminiscent of a video recorded at a Regina Canadian Tire store in June. In that incident, Indigenous man Kamao Cappo captured footage of a white employee accusing him of stealing. Canadian Tire later said the employee was “no longer with Canadian Tire.”