Illinois Auto Shop Fires Employees for Racist Snapchat Videos

Several employees were fired from an auto repair shop in Illinois after multiple racist videos were found on social media.

In the videos, originally posted to Snapchat on September 27, it shows three employees from the Sooper Lube auto shop in Joliet, Illinois in several videos making racist remarks about immigrants and a Black employee. In one video, one of the employees asks another worker: "Illegal immigrants are people too, what do you have to say to them?"

The worker then responds by saying “No the [expletive] they’re not.”

In another video from the employee’s Snapchat story, it shows the employee recording a Black coworker with a GIF of big, red lips covering his mouth, mocking him. A follow-up video shows the Black employee with his back turned to the employee recording him, who then calls the Black employee a homophobic slur.

The videos were first discovered by Ernest Crim III, a social studies teacher at Joliet Central High School and an activist in the community. In a Facebook post, Crim said he informed the manager of the auto shop, Chuck Nolan, who assured Crim they would be fired. On September 30, Nolan posted on the business’s Facebook page that as soon as he learned about the racist videos, the employees were fired.

“This video in no way reflects the opinions and values of this company,” Nolan wrote. “Those employees involved were immediately terminated on [September 30] when I learned of the existence of this video. I was not present when the video was being created and I took immediate action upon discovery. We are taking internal measures to ensure that this type of conduct does not occur in the future.”

Nolan, who has been the manager of the auto shop for 32 years, apologized to the community.

“First, I want to apologize to any and all persons who were offended by this video. I want to let all of you know that neither Sooper Lube, Inc. nor I will tolerate this kind of behavior, attitudes and opinions by any of our employees or management staff,” Nolan wrote.

“Second, Sooper Lube, Inc. takes this matter very seriously and we will continue to provide the highest level of service and car care for our customers, for which we are [known] throughout the Joliet and Will County area,” the statement continued.

Crim praised Nolan for firing the employees, noting that there have been many instances where employers defend the employees and their actions until an investigation is complete.

“This is commendable, to me, because I’ve seen countless situations where employers make excuses for their employees waiting for an ‘investigation” or whatever,” Crim wrote.

“On another note, this incident sheds light on how institutional racism could operate. Had these “gentlemen” not posted this online, they’d still have a job. People like this work in every industry in America and can impact our lives greatly; especially if they have jobs in our judicial system, schools or even as physicians,” Crim continued.

Last month, a white Hollywood costume designer lost her job after a video was posted of her screaming racial epithets in a CVS parking lot in Los Angeles, California. The video of Heather Lynn Patton soon went viral on social media. In the clip, she can be heard screaming, “I would kill a [N-word] but the law says I can’t kill the [N-word]. If the law didn’t say I couldn’t kill the [N-word] they’d all be dead.”

In the video, the person filming suggested that Patton could have been on drugs, but Patton responded: “No, I just hate [N-word].”

The video, which was viewed nearly two million times on Facebook, caused the Los Angeles Police Department to investigate the video as a “hate incident.” It is unclear what prompted Patton to begin screaming in the first place, but a witness told BuzzFeed News that she just began to hear shouting inside the store.

“I was like, what the hell is happening? I could only hear one voice traveling through the CVS yelling really hateful, violent things,” Renée Saldaña told the publication, who recorded the incident and reported it to the LAPD.

Patton issued an apology in an Instagram story and said she had lost her job because of her racist outburst.

“I hope the world knows we all as human beings have all made mistakes and greatfully [sic] regretted them later in life. I as a human made the choice to say some words that I should’ve NEVER let come out of my mouth,” she wrote. “I will no longer ask for forgiveness because what I did as a human was very inhumane and disgusting. African Americans help build this very country that I am living in and I hate that I insulted the millions of them.”

“I have lost my job which I totally would agree on as well for the reason I have been let go. Please allow me to rekindle the love we shall all share amongst each other,” she continued.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including NewsweekJuvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave andThe Home Reporter.