*The owner of an Atlanta gas station that is at the center of a months-long protest is selling his business over the controversy.
It all started when locals brought attention to the racist treatment of customers in the store. According to CBS46, the demonstrations began outside the ExxonMobil station after one of the clerks was captured on video saying, “I don’t give a [expletive] about the Black neighborhood.”
Since mid-October, organizers have protested outside of the gas station for 66 consecutive days.
“We sent a clear message that we will no longer tolerate disrespect,” organizer Joe Jones told CBS46.
Residents in East Atlanta boycotted this racist guy who owned the Exxon gas station for 60 days & forced him to sell it.. the black activist now plans to buy the gas station from him✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/ZoN40dJBg1
— Saycheese TV 👄🧀 (@SaycheeseDGTL) December 28, 2020
After the footage went viral, the store’s owner Rahim Sivji apologized and fired the clerk but the backlash and protesting continued amid ongoing racist behavior by the store’s employees and owner. According to reports, Sivji called a Black man a “food stamp cockroach” and another a “begging monkey.”
“We have to understand our power, the power of dollar, the power of Black economics and we have to be intentional with our spending,” Jones said. “It is a privilege to get Black dollars.”
Sivji has been catching hell for months, so rather than fight a losing battle with the angry locals, he decided to put the gas station up for sale.
“It got to the point where I’m thinking if I have to save my life or my store, I say the hell with my store, I want to save my life,” Sivji told CBS46, after reportedly losing more than 70 percent of revenue as a result of the protests. “That’s what’s important to me.”
When footage of the clerk initially went viral, ExxonMobil’s corporate office released a statement condemning Sivji’s store.
“ExxonMobil does not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment by any company representative. ExxonMobil’s global policies promote diversity and inclusion and prohibit any form of discrimination or harassment in any company workplace, anywhere in the world,” the statement read. “ExxonMobil does not own or operate any retail fuels stations in the United States, but we are aware of the situation and take these matters very seriously.”
The protests have ceased now that the business is on the market. Jones created a GoFundMe to raise money to purchase the store.
“This was an effective boycott that led to tangible results,” Jones said. “This is the perfect opportunity to take this situation and try to promote a situation of Black ownership.”