The Internet is calling for a boycott of Taco Bell using the hashtag #RIPTacoBell after a video of an African American employee being fired from his job for refusing to remove a face mask with a Black Lives Matter slogan went viral.
Denzel Skinner, who worked at Taco Bell for eight years, shared a Facebook Live video in which he appears to be arguing with a woman, said to be his manager, over a mask he's wearing that has "Black Lives Matter" printed across it." Skinner said the manager told him he had to go home because he refused to take the mask off.
"I'm not going to take it off 'cause I'm standing up for what was right," Skinner can be heard saying in the video. He was working at a Taco Bell outlet in Youngstown, Ohio.
"This is crazy. All because I've got a Black Lives Matter" mask on, I'm losing my job," he says in the clip before the woman tells him the mask goes against company policy.
"You can't bring politics into the building," the woman says, to which Skinner replies, "Bro, I'm not bringing politics in — this is what I'm standing for. How is this considered politics?" he asked before adding, "I'm not taking it off."
Backlash on Social Media
The video, which was retweeted by rapper Elijah Daniel, has since garnered more than 2.2 million views and caused the hashtag"#RIPTacoBell" to trend on Twitter in the U.S. with users accusing the chain of hypocrisy for claiming it supports the racial injustice movement and then firing an employee for wearing a mask with the movement's slogan.
Some users even vowed never to eat at a Taco Bell ever again and urged others to boycott the fast-food chain.
Meanwhile, others tweeted copycat recipes for some of Taco Bell's popular dishes to support the restaurant's boycott.
Taco Bell Statement
In the wake of the backlash, Taco Bell issued a statement saying on Thursday that it was "deeply upset" by the incident. "Denzel Skinner should never have been put in this position," the company tweeted. "We believe the Black Lives Matter movement is a human rights issue and not a political one."
"We have been in conversations with Denzel and our franchisees to make sure our actions represent our words," the company added. In a statement to USA Today, the company also said that employees will be allowed to wear Black Lives Matter masks.