City Desk

Safeway Apologizes For Homophobic Slur

Sure, everyone can be rude occasionally, even in the service industry. But at the Safeway at 1100 4th St. SW, near the Southwest waterfront, things went much farther last week.

Jason Morgan and his partner Brendan Harrington told Metro Weekly that they'd just put their food on the conveyor belt when they heard their check-out person say something awful: "Oh God, they're faggots."

Understandably, Harrington was taken aback. "I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you said," he replied. The couple says the homophobic employee only got bolder: "You guys are fucking faggots."

Morgan and Harrington left their groceries where they were, went to the store's management, and later filed a complaint with the D.C. Office of Human Rights, Metro Weekly says.

Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells heard about the story and confronted Safeway, eliciting an apology:

We extend our sincerest apologies to Mr. Morgan and Mr. Harrington for the completely unacceptable comments by our employee. Safeway employs and serves people from all backgrounds, and absolutely does not condone discrimination or intolerance of any kind by any staff member.  The company is reviewing the matter and will take appropriate corrective action.

There's a video that purportedly shows the clerk herself apologizing. A slight smile plays on her lips, though that could just be embarrassment. In any event, the mea culpa is a half-assed one, "I'm deeply sorry for if it offended him in any type of way."

Safeway spokesperson Craig Muckle says Safeway has tried to contact Morgan and Harrington to issue a "direct apology" to them, but haven't been able to reach them. As for the employee, she's being investigated, says Muckle. If the couple decides to return to Safeway, they don't have to worry about running into her, Muckle explains. "She's not in the store," he says. The cashier no longer has "contact with customers."

Muckle says he can't clarify whether she's been suspended or fired for legal reasons.

Update: Safeway has informed Wells that the cashier was fired.

Photo by Daquella manera via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Jes’ sayin’

    An angry call to Safeway HQ in California elicited a response from someone in public relations who said they just found out about this today, and the employee either has been fired...or will be.....and her manager is under investigation regarding the store's handling of this incident. That official said she was "mortified" when she heard about this today.

    Safeway, a San Francisco-based corporation, is more than sensitive to matters such as this.

  • Walter Washington

    well we've discovered the only group more sacrosanct in this city than blacks ... it's the gays

  • SafeWay

    Didn't Safeway get tax incentives to move to SW? Why hasn't the mayor weighed in on this?

  • Vet.

    Here we go again these GLBT folks are so special wear their feelings on their shoulder, demanding that everyone love their life style and if you dare not love their life style, you are homophobic. Lately they have been winning about everthing, no matter how slight, then every one wanting to be political correct including Tommy who have heat about to rain down on his A** are also up in arms in defense of this slight of this special group. If this is who you are, then be proud and realize not everyone like your life style, so stop winning and get over it!!

  • Southeast Ken

    If this story is true, the Safeway woman should be terminated. However, I am a big supporter of freedom of speech, but in this situation, this wasn't freedom of speech. No consumer should have to endure this type of behavior from an employee of a business. This was a homophobic slur. No consuemr should have to tolerate this type of behavior, spending their money.

  • Rene

    Dang...man the fuck up!

  • Northwesterner

    This follows my rule, if you were born in DC at least 15 ago, then you're automatically an a**hole.

  • Pingback: SYMHM: TGIF June 17 Edition | Borderstan

  • TJ

    @Vet, there are folks out there who don't like African Americans. Does that give them the right to insult AAs while they are patronizing that racist's store? That little girl was not getting paid to voice her opinions about a particular group of people. She was paid to greet the customers, swipe produce across the scanner, and tell the customers what they owe. She can exercise her 1st Amendment right to voice whatever stupid opinion she has... when she leaves her place of business. LGBT people don't need to learn anything in this case... that little girl needed to learn the lesson, which was you can't say just anything and think there are no consequences.

  • Southeast Ken

    @Vet, there are folks out there who don't like whites, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Cubans, Jews, Salvadorans, white gays, black gays. What is your point for throwing in a person's skin color or race?

    Stop acting like being gay is a race of people. Cans can be of any race or ethnic group. This could have been a black gay couple. What would you have said them stupid?

  • Sarah

    I wonder what would have happened if the cashier had slurred some Mormon missionaries (identifiable in their white shirts, ties and name plates)? Nothing, I'll bet.

  • Typical DC BS

    They filed a complaint with the DC Office of Human Rights? What are they going to do about it? How stupid.

    The proper avenue of complaint (which the couple followed) was to bitch at Safeway. It's their employee and they should be the ones to deal with it.

  • Bob

    That'th it! No way I am going thopping at Thafeway ever again!!

  • noodlez

    IM NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL LAW EXPERT BUT I DO BELEIVE THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHTS. SHE WAS ON THE JOB AND IF SHE PAID ATTN DURING TRAINING I’M SURE THEY SPOKE ABOUT THIS.

    HOWEVER, IM WITH Vet. ON THIS ONE. THEY WERE CALLED NAMES. SO WHAT! GET OVER IT!!! YALL MOFO’S WANTED TO BE MAINSTREAMED WELL HERE IT IS IN ALL ITS GLORY. FOR THEM TO COMPLAIN AND WALK AWAY JUST PROVED THE CASHIER WAS RIGHT. THEY SOUND LIKE THEY WERE WHITE TAKING THIS PETTY ISSUE UP THE CHAIN TO THE N’TH DEGREE CAUSE THEIR LIL’ FEELINGS WERE HURT.

    THEY SHOULD HAVE SAID, AFTER THEY ASKED CASHIER TO REPEAT REMARK, WAS “YES WE ARE FAGGOTS AND WE ARE PROUD OF IT NOW RING UP OUR GROCERIES YOU IGNORANT PIECE OF SHIT AND IF DON’T GIVE ME YOUR EMPLOYEE DISCOUNT ON MY PURCHASE IM SNICTING ON YOUR SORRY ASS SO YOU WILL LOSE YOUR JOB!” NOW IT’S A LOSE-LOSE FOR BOTH PARTIES.

    THEY WILL CONTINUE TO PAY HIGH ASS PRICES ON FOOD STUFFS AND STILL BE RIDICULED FOR THEIR DECISION ON WHO TO HAVE SEX WITH AND SOMEONE LOST THEIR JOB OVER A BRAIN FART POINTING OUT THE OBVIOUS.

    POINT OF ORDER-JUST BECAUSE GAYTANIA PASSED GAY FREEDOM BILL AND YALL ARE ABLE TO HAVE YOUR FREAK SHOW PARADE DOESN’T MEAN THAT WDC IS HOMOSEXUAL FRIENDLY!

    MR SMITH IS NO BETTER MAYBE HIS ASS SHOULD BE FIRED AND APOLOGETIC FOR CALLING THE CASHIER A NAME. “The couple says the homophobic employee only got bolder” LET ME GO ON RECORD TO SAY ALL YALL GAY FOLK NEED TO STOP WITH ALL THIS ‘HOMOPHOBIC’ SHIT. AUTOMATICALLY PUTTING SOMEONE IN A BOX OVER A WORD DOES NOT A PERSON MAKE!

    I DON’T LIKE OKRA DOES THAT MAKE ME AN OKRAPHOBIC? OR SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE OKRA’S RIGHTS TO BE A VEGGIE!
    **********************************************************

    HAPPY FATHERS DAY TO ALL THE DADS OUT THERE! AND MOMS TOO!
    Love ya ma!

  • Wm Arch

    I don't blame the Safeway clerk for expressing her views. No doubt she finds the homosexual lifestyle repulsive. Unlike racial disrimination which should be illegal, it is gay acts and behavior, voluntarily pursued, that so many Americans find quite offensive and should not fall within the ambit of protected legal status. Instead of shrieking and whining to the DC government, these perverts should thank their lucky stars that they don't live in a jurisdiction where the penalty for such odious behavior is a long prison term or a date with the executioner.

  • Ron The Don

    Abe Lincoln once said Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. If someone make insensitive remarks to her, she would raising hell instantly. There's no excuse for bigotry and disrespectful behavior regardless of race, gender, sexuality, etc. The fired Safeway employee to learn a little thing called If You Don't Have Anything Good To Say, Don't Say Anything.

...