A white nurse at St. Luke's Hospital in Missouri is out of a job after appearing in a photo with her husband wearing blackface as part of a Jay-Z and Beyoncé Halloween costume.
Shelbi Heenan posted the photo to social media, where it was met with intense backlash. One woman who saw the photo contacted St. Luke's hospital where Heenan was a registered nurse, reported KCTV 5.
By lunchtime, the hospital released a statement saying Heenan was no longer an employee.
The hospital's full statement read:
“On Monday afternoon, Saint Luke’s Health System became aware of a Saint Luke’s East Hospital employee who posted photos on personal social media accounts of her and another individual dressed in blackface for what appears to be a Halloween event. This information was shared with appropriate health system personnel and an investigation was initiated immediately. While it is against Saint Luke’s policy to comment on specific personnel matters, we can confirm that this individual is no longer a Saint Luke’s employee. Saint Luke’s is deeply committed to our culture of diversity and inclusion. It is fundamental to who we are as an organization and we vigorously protect it on behalf of all our patients and employees and expect those who represent us to do the same.”
A classmate from Raymore Peculiar High School identified the man in the photo as Jasmond Heenan, Elliott-Heenan's husband, who works for Costco Wholesale in Independence. His costume was found particularly offensive because of the way he drew exaggerated lips on his face, just as they did in the days of minstrelsy.
From Megyn Kelly to random girls named Kelly, it seems like there is a major disconnect when it comes to white people understanding why blackface is unacceptable on Halloween.
Dr. Makini King, who is with the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Diversity and Inclusion Division, told KCTV 5 education may be the issue.
"We need to do better at teaching history and we also need to be more integrated. We need to encourage relationships with people who are not like us and that's a very deliberate thing, It has to be done. It doesn't just happen because you know you're a good person ... people have to deliberately form relationships with other people so that they have better information about other people's cultures what's appropriate and what's not and then also they get to humanize other people," King said.