Two black workers in a Tennessee cotton factory just filed a federal complaint against a domineering white supervisor who called them "monkeys" and was recorded lamenting racial integration while telling them the water fountain and microwave were for whites only. Happy 2014!
The men, who worked at the Atkinson Cotton Warehouse in Memphis, shared their story—and their secret recordings—with WREG-TV. The video above has to be seen to be believed.
The cotton industry's history reminds some people of slavery.
Antonio Harris and Marrio Mangrum say their former supervisor was stuck in the past.
"He would be like, 'You need to think like a white man," said Mangrum.
"He pulled his pants down in front of us and told us to kiss his white tail," said Harris.
He said after months of racist comments and feeling powerless, he decided to use his phone as a weapon to fight back.
Here are some screenshots of the conversations Harris recorded:
Harris told WREG that the problem isn't the cotton industry itself—"I worked for another company for 12 years and they never did something like that to me"—but one supervisor who's stuck back in the segregation era.
In fact, the supervisor even lamented those bygone days in one of his recordings: "Back then, nobody thought anything about it. Now everybody is made to where to think it's bad."
The two workers have filed a complaint with the EEOC, which is trying to work out a settlement between them and management. According to another cotton-gin employee WREG spoke with, the offending supervisor still works there, but is on vacation.