Dozens of women in the Washington, D.C., area donned red T-shirts Thursday to march in honor of a young man who was filmed in his office laughing as his boss forced his coworker to panhandle in late August.
In a video posted to TikTok, an app similar to Snapchat that allows users to record snippets of video with friends that disappear after a 24-hour period, employee Thomas Richard is heard laughing as his boss hands 22-year-old Jeuanco Edwards a cell phone and tells him to put it away.
“I don’t really mean to be disrespectful,” he says to Edwards, “but I don’t want you to go anywhere else.”
The video shows Edwards refusing several offers to be directed to door No. 2 of the building before Edwards is dragged down to the lobby. He gets caught outside again before beginning to panhandle.
Thomas Richard, 33, was suspended from his job after a coworker shared the video on Facebook. Patricia Moran, a spokeswoman for Arlington, Virginia-based Trump International Hotel & Tower, said Richard was suspended pending an investigation.
The video has since gone viral, making it to page one on Reddit and garnering more than 1 million views.
Moran said the hotel will conduct an internal investigation and address personnel issues with employees.
“We take it very seriously,” she said. “We don’t condone that kind of behavior in the workplace. We understand that people can use social media. What people say and do is private. However, we don’t condone this kind of behavior. This video is in violation of our social media guidelines.”
The video was posted to TikTok on Aug. 28, the same day a limo driver and Uber driver in New York City were accused of assaulting and raping passengers.
As of Thursday afternoon, the video had 730 comments and more than 300,000 views. A number of men have commented, saying the woman was also to blame for the incident, saying their own friends have participated in similar incidents.
The woman who posted the video, Jane Ahn-Kentz, 28, told WJLA-TV in Arlington that Edwards approached her by herself outside the hotel and begged for money, saying he didn’t have a job.
She said no one would help. She said she let him near her purse and offered to give him some of her belongings if he would go somewhere else, but that he continued to panhandle, saying he didn’t have a friend.
Ahn-Kentz said she was impressed with how the woman working next to Edwards behaved, and said she felt like people who spoke out against the man are only exacerbating the situation.
“I don’t know why people feel the need to speak out. He’s not being paid enough,” Ahn-Kentz said. “I did not know [the woman].”
Read the full story at WJLA.
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