New York Deli Employee Fired After Allegedly Calling a Black Customer a Monkey

New York Deli Employee Fired After Allegedly Calling a Black Customer a Monkey

The racial slur was aimed at a civil rights activist.

Published April 16, 2017

Whatever happened to "service with a smile"? One New York deli desperately needs a crash course in customer service after its employee used a racial slur against a patron, The Grio reports.

Cynthia Passanisi, who worked at Guercio & Sons in Buffalo allegedly called a Black customer a monkey several times while he waited for his sandwich. And that's not all.

Passanisi also reportedly drew a caricature of a monkey on the wrapper of the customer's sandwich.

The deli worker tells WKBW, however, that she did nothing wrong. “That was a smiley face, it was not a monkey,” Passanisi claims. “That’s how I draw mine…I’m sorry I’m not an artist.” Passanisi adds that the accusations about the racial slur are also false. “When I was in front of the store and he was at the register, I was standing with Christian and he turned around and said he was a Gorilla. I didn’t say that, I said ‘that’s not nice and I’m not racist,” she said.

The customer, local civil rights activist John Washington, begs to differ. “Well I think she’s lying. She did call me a monkey,” says Washington. “There’s multiple people who have acknowledged that she did that multiple times.” As for the drawing, “I think it’s clear what she drew,” he added.

Regardless, Passanisi has been fired from her job — a fact she says she learned on the local news. The store owner, Lisa Guercio, has since apologized to Washington, saying, “John, we would like to apologize to you in person. From my heart to yours, I’m sorry, it was not right.”

Written by Evelyn Diaz

(Photo: via Screenshot)

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