Virginia hotel worker fired after calling black customer 'monkey'

PHOTO: The Country Inn & Suites by Radisson in Newport News, Virginia, where an employee allegedly called a customer a racial slur. WVEC
The Country Inn & Suites by Radisson in Newport News, Virginia, where an employee allegedly called a customer a racial slur.

A white hotel clerk in Southern Virginia was fired this week after video surfaced showing that he called a black customer a "f--king monkey."

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson in Newport News, Virginia, said it fired the employee on Monday after Irby Fogleman shared video showing him arguing with the worker over room accommodations.

In the video, the unidentified worker is heard yelling "get your family and get out" before muttering the racial epithet.

Fogleman's wife, Kelsey Cunningham, said the conformation started after her husband complained that one of their rooms smelled like smoke.

PHOTO: Irby Fogleman, who said a hotel worker in Virginia called him a racial slur. WVEC
Irby Fogleman, who said a hotel worker in Virginia called him a racial slur.

"It's hurtful. We have two small children that were also in the hotel," Cunningham told ABC affiliate WVEC. "It just shouldn't be tolerated at this point, and that's why we decided to share the video."

Cunningham, who's white, said she and her family were there to visit her mother-in-law, who came to town to surprise them.

"She went and picked her own hotel, which I kind of regret now," Fogleman said. "We get into the room, and smell smoke, and that was kind of alarming because she doesn't smoke."

The Country Inn & Suites by Radisson said it would retrain its employees in the wake of the incident.

"I want to apologize for the inappropriate behavior and comments of one of our employees from an incident that occurred on Friday, May 4," the hotel's general manager, Lisa Little, said in a statement. "As a result of this incident, we will also be re-training every employee this week on our code-of-conduct policies to help ensure something like this never happens again."

Cunningham said she and her family received "a scripted apology along with a refund" a few days after the encounter.

"The last few days have been hurtful, stressful, and really just exhausting," she wrote in a Facebook post Monday. "All I can do is hope this doesn't happen to someone else.”

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