Cotton Gin Employees Record Supervisor’s Racist Threats

CottonGinEmployees

It’s a story you would expect to hear in the Jim Crow era, not 2014.

Employees at an industrial Tennessee cotton gin have caught their supervisor on tape telling black employees they will be “hanged” if they drink from a “whites only” water fountain.

The shocking statements were recorded by two men, Untonia Harris and Marrio Mangrum, who say the discrimination at Atkinson Cotton Warehouse went on for months. Eventually becoming fed up, Harris recorded the supervisor’s statements with his cell phone.

A number of conversations were recorded, including one where he was threatened for drinking out of a water fountain the supervisor designated for whites.

“What they do when they catch me drinking your water?” Harris asked the supervisor in one of the recordings.

“That’s when we hang you,” the supervisor responded.

In another recording the supervisor is heard telling Harris he can’t use a microwave.

“Why can’t I use the microwave man?” Harris asked.

“Because you are not white,” he responded.

The supervisor even took the insulting comments to the point of  comparing black employees to monkeys, and speaking to them in the ways a slave owner would have spoken to his slaves, though those specific statements are not recorded.

“Hey black boy get over there and get my cotton,” one of the men recalls the supervisor saying.

The pair have filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The federal complaint is being investigated.

The company that runs the warehouse, Federal Compress, released a statement to ABC News saying it had “zero tolerance” for discrimination and that the supervisor was no longer employed with the company.

Watch the news clip below.

(Photo Credit: ABC News)