Wearing a Black Panther T-shirt had one teenager working at Lowe's accused of racism by a complaining customer, leading to an apology from the company after a supervisor advised the employee to go home and change his clothing. As he hadn't been working at the Lowe's in Bonney Lake, Washington for long, 18-year-old Kyle Sales was not yet given an official work vest by the company. On the day in question, Sales had worn a Black Panther T-shirt to work instead, brandishing the movie's title along with the slogan, "Wakanda Forever."
During his shift, Sales was informed by a supervisor that a customer had complained about the Black Panther shirt, insisting that the clothing was "offensive and racist." Speaking with KIRO7, Sales was completely baffled, noting: "This is from a movie. How is this racist?" The teen was then asked to change his shirt, which he did after going home on his lunch break and putting on a sports jersey. Still, the story doesn't end there, as the customer reportedly returned the next day to ensure that the employee had been adequately punished for his apparent love for the record-breaking, Oscar-winning superhero movie.
"She came in throwing a fit, she's like, 'What happened to that kid wearing that shirt? What was his punishment?'" Sales explains. The incident was very frustrating for Sales, as the teen says it reminded him of his other experiences dealing with racism by others in the community. This includes bullies calling him the N-word in high school and having a previous boss referring to him as a "colored boy" on the job. "That was pure, unadulterated discrimination," Sales' mother, Kimberley Sales, also says. Kyle is also calling for changes to the company's protocol for situations like this, so these issues can be prevented in the future.
Responding to the controversy, Lowe's provided an apology to Sales, as acknowledged in an official statement released to Fox News. "Mr. Sales should never have been asked to change his shirt, and we have apologized to him directly," the statement reads. "We know this is a teachable moment, and we will take action to coach and train the managers at the store to help prevent this from happening again. Diversity and inclusion are important to our culture at Lowe's, and we remain committed to fostering an environment where all individuals are safe, treated fairly, valued and respected."
Based on the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name, Black Panther was directed by Ryan Coogler and starred Chadwick Boseman in the titular role. By grossing over $1.3 billion in worldwide ticket sales, the movie broke numerous records upon its release, including a record as the highest-grossing movie by a Black director. It is also the ninth-highest grossing movie of all time. The movie is many other things as well, but you would be hard-pressed to find many others out there who would agree with this one irate Lowe's customer that the hit superhero movie is actually racist. Details of this story come to us from Fox News.