The United States Air Force received some unwelcome attention this week, when a 20-year-old Missouri woman named Tabitha “Tabbie” Duncan — who had reportedly enlisted in the Air Force recently, according to The New York Daily News — was seen in a viral video making a racist remark and smiling broadly as others accompanying her said they were “going n****r hunting.”
According to a report on the incident by the St. Louis-based Riverfront Times newspaper, Duncan is also a supporter of Donald Trump, and included pro-Trump memes on her now-deleted Facebook page, as well as at least one meme attacking National Football League players over the practice of kneeling during the National Anthem before games.
Trump has made what he calls “respect” for the National Anthem a frequently repeated theme of his public pronouncements, even though according to The Washington Post, he does not appear to know the lyrics to the song himself.
But he has suggested forcing NFL players who kneel during the anthem to leave the country and referred to any player who stages the protest as a “son of a b***h,” as Vox reported. The kneeling practice began as a protest against racism and the repeated shootings of black citizens by police officers.
Watch the viral video featuring Tabitha Duncan, in which she can be heard saying, “Get them n****rs!” as she responds to two men who declare that they are “going n****r hunting,” below. Readers should be warned: language used in the video is highly offensive.
Duncan told the Daily News that she “barely knew” the people in the video who talked about “going n****r hunting, but in the video, one can be heard referring to Duncan as his “soon-to-be sister-in-law.”
Duncan had been employed at a St. Louis restaurant named Social Bar and Grill. The establishment was described in the Riverfront Times report as a “breastraunt,” and the business’s Facebook page features a photo of several waitresses clad only in gym shorts and sports bras.
The Social Bar and Grill said that it had “terminated” Duncan’s employment, in a Tuesday Facebook post, calling the viral video in which Duncan is heard using the racist epithet, “vile, disgusting, and offensive.” The company made further comments in their post.
“Social Bar and Grill immediately terminated this employee as soon as they could reach her! The incendiary comments made by this employee absolutely does NOT represent the views, opinions, and policies of Social Bar & Grill and it’s owners. Nor will they be tolerated in any fashion.”
The Air Force also released a statement about the video, posting its response on the Air Force Recruiting Twitter account.
We have been made aware of a video of an alleged reserve Airman who made racially insensitive comments, and appreciate this being brought to our attention. The U.S. Air Force values diversity and inclusion; and action will be taken upon further investigation as necessary.— Air Force Recruiting (@USAFRecruiting) June 12, 2018
The Twitter post was similar to a statement published in the Riverfront Times report, in which the Air Force said, “We take incidents like this very seriously and action will be taken upon further investigation as necessary.”
But as of Tuesday afternoon, the Air Force had not announced any such action regarding the Duncan video.
While Duncan deleted most of her social media accounts, her Instagram acute remained online, appearing to feature seemingly professionally photographed modeling poses, some of them rather suggestive.
Duncan on Tuesday told the Daily News that she is “so sorry” for her words in the video, saying, “I have black friends, I have black people in my family, I didn’t mean it. I didn’t know that I was being videoed.”
But according to one Twitter user who said she was a high school classmate of Duncan’s, the video was not an isolated case of Duncan using the hurtful racist term.
“In high school, Tabbie Duncan screamed ‘n****r’ to me and ran up the stairs, this isn’t just a one-time ‘mistake,'” wrote Twitter user Janese Watson. She concluded her Twitter post by calling on the Air Force to “do the right thing.”