A video that went viral on Twitter Monday showed Georgia Jimmy John's employees playing with bread dough they made into a noose. The company says it fired all employees involved in the video. The shocking footage surfaced amid growing protests against racism around the country following the death of George Floyd in May.
The video was initially posted on Snapchat by a user named "Riley:))." It shows one employee putting a noose made out of bread dough around the neck of another employee at the Woodstock, Georgia location. All the employees in the video are White. Jimmy John's later published a statement on Twitter, confirming the employees are no longer working at the store.
This happened in Woodstock, GA, at a #JimmyJohns. White employees decided to make a noose out of bread dough, to mock the lynching of Black Americans. According to a rep at the store, the employees and the manager were fired. pic.twitter.com/W0cDhZ8bNI— Ryan Guillory Sr. 💫💫 🇺🇸 (@Mr_RyanGuillory) July 5, 2020
The company called the employees' actions "absolutely unacceptable" and "do not represent" the brand or the local franchise owner. "As soon as we were alerted to the video, we notified our franchisee, who quickly investigated and terminated all employees involved," the statement reads. "The franchisee is also meeting with their team to conduct training to help prevent anything like this from ever happening again."
While the employees lost their jobs, it did not stop the backlash against Jimmy John's on Twitter. Many users directed their anger at the company's controversial founder James John Liautaud, notes USA Today. Liautaud is known for supporting President Donald Trump's re-election campaign and is a member of Trump's Great American Economic Revival Industry Group for Food and Beverage team. Many shared the photos of Liautaud going on big game hunts, many of which have been circulating on the Internet since 2011 and have inspired boycotts in the past.
The Jimmy John's video surfaced on the same day President Donald Trump called the apparent noose situation with NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace a "hoax." Trump wanted Wallace to apologize, even though it was NASCAR that began the investigation into the rope, which turned out to be a garage door pull. An FBI investigation determined Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime. Several major NASCAR figures, including Richard Petty Racing owner Andrew Murstein, were quick to defend Wallace, the only Black full-time driver in NASCAR.
Last week, Home Depot also announced it would no longer display spools of rope for customers after learning some used ropes to create nooses in stores. The chain will only sell ropes in pre-cut lengths based on what customers commonly purchase. "Unfortunately, we've had some instances where spooled rope was used to create hate symbols and we're not going to tolerate it," a Home Depot spokesperson said.