A viral video showing a white Minneapolis man calling cops on some black entrepreneurs over using a private gym in a building were they are tenants, has lost his venture capitalist office lease.
In a video shared by the black entrepreneurs, owners of a Minneapolis based social media branding agency, ‘Teamtopfigure‘, showed a white Minneapolis man, Tom Austin, threatened to call the cops on them over using a gym in which they had rights to as tenants of the building.
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Normally we don’t speak out about encounters of racial profiling and age discrimination that we face day to day in our lives as young black entrepreneurs. Although today May 26th 2020 7:51pm we encountered a situation where a man entered the facility, a shared private gym that we utilize in our @wework @mozaic_east office located in uptown Minnesota. Granted we’ve been in this office space and have rented and grown our business for the past 1 year and half here. As we were working out this man approached and immediately asked us who we were and if “WE BELONG” in this building. Granted in order to enter the building you NEED a key card to enter EVERY part of the building which EACH of our team members individually have. We all pay rent here and this man demanded that we show him our key cards or he will call the cops on us. We are sick and tired of tolerating this type of behavior on a day to day basis and we feel that we had to bring light onto this situation.
This event happened on Tuesday at a building on Lagoon Avenue in Minneapolis, when a managing partner of F2 Group, Tom Austin, threatened to call the police on the black entrepreneurs.
Tom, in the video was seen questioning the group of young entrepreneurs;
“I’m Tom Austin”. “I’m a tenant in the building. Are you?.
Responding to his question the group of young men stated that they were also all tenants in the building.
But, Tom further insisted that they tell him which office they work in, and they responded, that he don’t have to tell him, on hearing that, Tom stated he did call 911, but ended up calling the building manager who confirmed that the young men had a lease in the building.
The young entrepreneurs were so saddened by Tom’s behavior towards them and they took to their Instagram page and tagged the building and accused Tom Austin of ‘racial profiling and age discrimination’.
“We are sick and tired of tolerating this type of behavior on a day-to-day basis, and we feel that we had to bring light onto this situation,”
According to reports on Tribune, Tom Austin stated that his actions has led to his company losing his lease in the building,
He further stated that he wished, he had handled the situation differently and also added that it wasn’t in his place to have done anything.
However, he denied being a racist and said his trying to uphold a building policy that allows only tenants to use the gym and other amenities in the building. He said he saw one of them open the door to the gym with a key fob and let the rest in before the group got “aggressive”.
He further apologised for his actions;
“I said, ‘I’m sorry you thought I was being racist, but I was not. If you were a bunch of women, I would have done the same thing”.
Few days ago many residents and other people all over America were protesting over the of killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer.