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article imageFacebook comments by Hertz employees prompts lawsuit

By Lesley Lanir     Nov 26, 2013 in Internet
Kahului - Allegedly racist and derogatory remarks made on Facebook by a number of Hertz Rent-A-Car employees about an African-American customer are described as a "violent and dehumanizing, racist attack" and have brought about lawsuit.
Honolulu Civil Beat report that last Friday, a lawsuit was filed against Facebook and Hertz and six of its employees by Maurice Howard, a 27-year-old black man from Maui.
The lawsuit names the employees and states that they "... posted on Facebook ... an attack on Howard's race, sexual orientation, and financial state and condition. Further, there were also threats of bodily harm and death that were made and still not been retracted."
Howard, an accountant, was alerted by one of his clients in February, 2012, to some of the comments being made on Facebook, for example:
Shawn Akina, the location manager for Hertz, Maui, posted on Facebook:
“I seen Maurice’s bougie a?? walking Kahului beach road…n???a please!”
The term “bougie,” as noted on page 4 of the lawsuit is when made "in reference to a person who is African-American is a well-known slur to depict an African-American as a fraud who wants to give the appearance of being in a higher class or status."
Or as Shawn Akina explained on Facebook: "A broke ass fak who act like he get planny money."
Another Hertz employee, Samantha Chun, replied, “run that faka over!!! Lol,”
Akina wrote he was “... tempted to, but nah, I had a white car, neva like u guys, scrub da blood off.”
All comments made by the employees during the chat on Facebook are quoted in the lawsuit and interpreted. One of those involved in the posting of comments was Ryan Cabebe who was the Hertz District Manager in Hilo. One of his job roles was being "responsible for customer and employee relations."
According to the lawsuit, Howard has lost business clients who were made aware of these comments.
Maurice Howard’s attorney, Burton Gould, said in a statement: “How an African-American customer can be targeted by five management and employees of a nationally recognized car rental company in such a violent and dehumanizing, racist attack in 2012 is beyond my imagination.”
The lawsuit contends that Howard’s civil rights were violated, and that both Hertz and Facebook were negligent in allowing the rental car company’s employees to make such verbal attacks.
Regarding Facebook, the lawsuit says the company violated its community policy that prohibits harmful content and raises the point that the individuals that made the comments still have accounts on the social media site.
Civil Beat note that, according to the lawsuit, all Hertz employees involved have been fired or resigned, some taking employment at a Budget car rental center.
More about Facebook, Bullying, hertz, Hawaii, Maurice Howard
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