One man’s racist Facebook post has led to an overwhelming number of offensive comments that have resulted in job termination for multiple Facebook users. According to Opposing Views, Gerod Roth — who goes by the name “Geris Hilton” on Facebook — posted a photo of himself with an African-American toddler standing in the background. It has been reported that the little boy — only identified as Cayden — happens to be the 3-year-old son of Roth’s co-worker, Sydney Jade.
The post included the photo and caption, which insisted that the boy may have been “deaf,” “mute,” or “feral.” Shortly after Roth posted the photo on September 16, a series of offensive comments followed. Several of Roth’s Facebook friends attempted to caption the photo, insisting that he’d become a “slave owner,” with mocking comments about the child. One Facebook user even went a step further by posting a racist cartoon.
Several online news outlets released reports about the post over the weekend. Now, the shocking story has gone viral, as many social media users have had no reservations about criticizing Roth and his Facebook friends. During an interview with Atlanta Blackstar, Cayden’s mother, Sydney Jade, and his grandmother, Susan Hardy, shared their reaction to the offensive Facebook post and how the toddler has been trolled on social media. Jade recounted the days following Roth’s Facebook post, admitting that he acted as if nothing had occurred.
“Our office is a small office, there’s only 10 people. We all hang out,” Jade said. “I was really caught off guard, and the fact the picture had been posted September 16th, and he wasn’t fired until the 29th, and acting like nothing happened,” she says. “He just went about like nothing even happened. It went on for days, a week and a half before anyone found out it even existed.”
Cayden’s grandmother also shared her opinion of the disheartening experience her daughter and grandson have suffered. “He’s my grandson. He’s not deaf, he’s not mute, he’s not abandoned,” Hardy said of the rumors that have been spread about her grandson via social media.
She went on to defend her grandson, revealing that he is highly intelligent for his age. “His mother reads to him, and they go over the ABCs, so when we hear things like deaf, dumb and abandoned, our hearts are broken. It has been heart aching that my child and grandchild have to go through such hate, and for an innocent child–who [in] this day and age attacks a child?”
According to News One, the racist Facebook post and brash comments not only caught the attention of many social media users, but employers, as well. Apparently, those who chose to make offensive comments have been terminated from their jobs. On September 29, Roth was reportedly terminated because of the post.
Due to the overwhelming response the post has received, his former employer, Polaris Marketing Group, released a statement on the morning of Monday, October 5. Michael Da Graca Pinto, president of the marketing firm, addressed the incident via Facebook on behalf of the company. He condemned Roth’s actions and made it clear that the company will not tolerate such behavior. Pinto also announced that Roth had been terminated and that the company has severed ties with him.
“This morning I was disgusted to learn that one of my former employees made several racially charged comments on his personal Facebook page. Even worse, the comments were directed toward the son of another employee. It breaks my heart that Sydney and her adorable son, Cayden, were subjected to such hateful, ignorant and despicable behavior.
The atrocious lies, slander and racism he and his mother have been forced to endure are wholly intolerable. Myself and the entire PMG family in no way condones this kind of behavior and would never willingly associate with anyone who does. It has no place in the world. PMG has terminated the employee responsible and will ensure that none of the businesses that we associate with will ever do business with him again.”
The racist Facebook post is just another reminder of important it is to be use good judgment when posting via social media. One offensive post could be detrimental to one’s career. Roth’s viral post has led to the support of the latest trending hashtag, #MyNameIsCayden.
[Image(s) via Facebook]