A black man from Maui is suing Hertz and Facebook after he discovered Hertz employees denigrating him and sharing his financial information on the popular social network.
According to a lawsuit filed by Maurice Howard in U.S. District Court of Hawai’i, six Hertz employees referred to Howard as a pretentious, possibly homosexual, black man who rents expensive cars even though his credit card is frequently denied.
Shawn Akina, the location manager for Hertz, wrote that “I seen Maurice’s bougie a** walking Kahului beach road…n***a please!” The term “bougie,” according the suit, is used to signify a black man of low social status who aspires, in a crude fashion, to appear to be of higher status.
Another Hertz employee, Samantha Chun, replied “run that faka over!!! Lol,” which Howard took to be a personal threat despite the “Lol” appended to it. Akina responded that he was “tempted to, but nah, I had a white car, neva like you guys scrub the blood off.”
Howard contends that Akina’s professional responsibilities as a Hertz manager required him to rebuke Chun’s threat, but that the “malicious threatening intent is never questioned or repudiated by the Hertz management employees.”
Facebook is included in the suit despite the fact that there is no evidence it was aware of the exchange, which the participants deleted when they learned it had come to Howard’s attention. However, because it violated the site’s anti-bullying statutes, he believes them culpable.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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