Duke University VP's Complaint About Rap Song Gets Two Baristas Fired

Duke University VP's Complaint About Rap Song Gets Two Baristas Fired

Two baristas who worked on the campus of Duke University are now unemployed thanks, in part, to a complaint by the vice president of student affairs regarding a rap song.

In an email to the Duke Chronicle, Moneta, clearly still shaken up by the curses-but not almost as distraught about hate speech, per Indy Week-states that he was shocked to hear such language in his coffee shop, and that after expressing his displeasure with the staff he their boss Coffey to continue to express more displeasure, but "that was the end of [his] involvement". While Moneta waited in line to place his order, "Get Paid" by Young Dolph was playing over the store's speaker system.

Rapper Young Dolph also has a song "In Charlotte" on his album "Bulletproof" in which he raps about allegedly dodging 100 bullets while in Charlotte during the CIAA tournament in 2017. He said he was "shocked" by the lyrics which were "quite inappropriate for a working environment that serves children among others". When Moneta went up to the counter, he reportedly told staff member Britni Brown that the song's lyrics were offensive.

Brown, who had chosen the playlist for the shift, was confronted by Moneta who told her that the song was inappropriate. Employees Britni Brown and Kevin Simmons were working that day and said they were playing music from playlists curated by the streaming service Spotify. "I apologize to all of the people directly involved and those who have been touched or offended, of which there are many".

He was too far to hear what was going on, however.

Within 10 minutes Joe Van Gogh's owner called the shop to ask about the incident. Roberts had apparently received a phone call as well-from Robert Coffey, executive director of dining services at Duke.

Additionally, Brown maintains that she was never told of any policies that restricted what music could be played in the shop. And on Monday, the coffee shop called in both Brown and Simmons, asking them to resign. Amanda Wiley from Joe Van Gogh's human resources informed the pair that they could no longer work for the company. Again, according to Brown, he said, "No. Ring me up for it".

"We had gotten a call from Robert Coffey of Duke saying that the VP of the university had come into the shop and that there was vulgar music playing", Wiley said, according to the recording.

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Moneta went on to say that how the management at Joe Van Gogh, which is a contractor to Duke, responded to the employees' behavior was exclusively their decision. "And they can shut us down at any point", Wiley said.

She told the two that the university had "instructed [them] to terminate the employees that were working that day".

As of publishing, Brown and Simmons-neither of whom have had any prior reports of misconduct-are still out of jobs.

Brown argued that firing Simmons, who is white, was unfair considering he wasn't even responsible for the music but she suggested that the company likely fired both of them to avoid accusations of racism by only firing Brown, who is a black woman.

Moneta pointed the blame at Joe Van Gogh for its handling of the incident. "The employees who chose to play the song in a business establishment on the Duke campus made a poor decision which was conveyed to the JVG management", he said.

'Freedom of expression protects the oppressed far more than the oppressors, ' he added in the tweet. "How Joe Van Gogh responded to this matter was exclusively at their discretion".

She returned to the coffee chain out of necessity, she says, but she intends to look for a new job following the recent developments.

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