Missoula Fresh Market said an employee accused of discriminating against a Native American couple in a video viewed more than 100,000 times no longer works for the company.
Shawn Madman and his girlfriend, Tenisha Oldman, went to the store on West Broadway Saturday and noticed a man staring at them as soon as they walked in the door, he said.
Madman confronted the man, who was a Fresh Market employee, and captured the exchange in two cell phone videos, both containing graphic language.
“Excuse me, sir,” Madman said. “Hey, every time when a Native American comes in here, why do you follow them around? Why do you follow us around?”
The employee responded, “Oh my gosh, why’s it always Native Americans? ‘Oh, why do you got to profile us?’ Every Native American that comes in here says that. You’re just like the rest of them.”
Madman responded, “Oh really? Like the rest of them, huh?”
“Everyone says that,” the employee said.
“That’s because you do, you do profile us,” Madman said.
The employee did not identify himself in the video and Fresh Market did not provide his name.
The employee suggested in the video that he had caught Oldman shoplifting in the store before.
Madman said a manager later told him the store had no record of shoplifting allegations against Oldman.
In a second video, streamed live Saturday on Facebook, Oldman and Madman are told they are banned from the store for a year. That video had more than 100,000 views by Tuesday evening, with some commenters calling for a boycott of the store.
Missoula Fresh Market Co-Owner Craig Holtet said Tuesday the employee in the video no longer works at the store. He said the company also told Madman and Oldman that they were not banned from shopping there.
“We work hard to provide everybody who comes into the store a happy shopping experience,” Holtet said. “I lost sleep over somebody not having a good experience.”
Holtet said the store took immediate action to resolve this issue and a manager met with the couple on Monday. Holtet will also meet with the couple on Thursday, he said.
Madman is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet tribe and Oldman is an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
“My grandpa told me there are going to be people like this, racist people, and I should be respectful and not fire back at them,” Madman said. “But with this, I really feel the impact now more deeply, because I had never experienced it before.”
Madman said he has a criminal record but hasn’t been charged with a serious crime in more than a decade.
“I’m not ashamed of who I am,” said Madman. “This crushes me because of how our people are treated.”
Holtet said Missoula Fresh Market doesn’t tolerate discrimination against anyone in its stores.