On Friday, Georgia state Representative Erica Thomas accused Eric Sparkes of verbally assaulting her at a Publix grocery store by screaming “go back to where you came from” at her. Per The Washington Examiner, Sparkes says that Thomas is conducting a political stunt and says that while he did get angry at Thomas for allegedly taking too many items into the express checkout lane, he didn’t tell her to “go back” to where she came from.
If the situation sounds familiar, it’s because it comes on the heels of President Donald Trump telling congresswomen of color — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — to go back to the “broken and crime-infested countries” that they came from. Although Trump is receiving backlash for his comments, The Inquisitr reported that the President is nevertheless demanding an apology from the congresswomen.
But Thomas appeared to walk back her comments when speaking to reporters and said she couldn’t remember exactly what Sparkes told her.
“I don’t know if he said ‘go back,’ or those types of words… I don’t know if he said ‘go back to your country’ or ‘go back to where you came from,’ but he was making those types of references is what I remember.”
Thomas was hit with criticism and was compared to Jussie Smollett, who is believed to have faked a hate crime hoax against himself for publicity.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) July 22, 2019
But Thomas is now reportedly doubling down on her comments. According to her attorney, Thomas is saying Sparkes definitely told her to “go back to where she came from.”
“He said, ‘Go back where you came from!’… and after that, he kept harassing me.” She said. “I was embarrassed, and I was scared for my life.”
Per The Guardian, Thomas claims that she didn’t film the incident because she was so surprised by Sparke’s comments. She claims that she has notified the police and is seeking video footage of the encounter. Publix claims that it is “cooperating” with law enforcement to help Thomas obtain the footage.
According to Sparkes, he is a Democrat like Thomas. He claims that he did address Sparkes in a rude manner, but denies saying anything racial to her. Sparkes said he believes that Thomas is creating a narrative to make herself look more favorable.
The incident went viral after Thomas posted a video on Facebook describing her experience. Afterward, the hashtag #IStandwithErica began trending on Twitter.