The Burger King on 6th and Wakarusa became the center of a protest Wednesday after racist comments made by a manager were posted on social media.
The franchise owner says it all started with shift manager Cindy Andersen posting a video on snapchat.
An African American employee of hers put the video on his Facebook to show what he called racism. Screen grabs from Anderson and her boyfriend Tucker Meyer’s wall show they doubled down, saying he keeps rope in his truck to “hang some [black people]” among other comments.
Franchise owner Genesh Incorporated says the employee reported Andersen to the General Manager on Monday, then called in on Tuesday to see if Andersen would be there. The GM reportedly said she would be. The employee said he wouldn’t go into work if she was there. The GM interpreted this as quitting and asked him to turn in his uniform. Genesh says that’s when the GM reported this to them.
On Wednesday, Genesh Inc. came to Lawrence to investigate, saying that’s when Andersen resigned. By then, the Snapchat and Facebook grabs had started to go viral, and later that night there was a three-hour protest in the parking lot.
Genesh promised the results within 24 hours and told Thursday’s crowd they finished the investigation and they fired the GM for not reporting the incident immediately.
“We did not follow the protocol,” said Genesh Inc. Area Director Anthony Robinson. “And because we didn’t, what happened was we had an employee that was at risk, that felt uncomfortable. It’s our responsibility to make sure all of our employees feel comfortable coming to work; feel safe and comfortable while they’re at work.”
The employee who reported Andersen is now back at work. One of the protest organizers says Genesh needs to take a closer look at their training.
“That policy was in place when they hired the manager that did all this,” says protest organizer Michael McKinney-Scott. “That’s when you know that things need to change, because obviously that policy either wasn’t strong enough or that manager didn’t understand the policy, he wasn’t aware of it, or he didn’t sign somewhere…”
Genesh says they’ve now hired an expert to review their current policies to make sure all employees feel safe at work.
We went to the Facebook pages to try to contact Andersen and Meyers to comment; all their social media profiles are now gone, so we had no way to connect.