Company Brings in Guy in a Gorilla Suit to Celebrate Juneteenth, Lawsuit Claims

Employees to Carey: Slow your roll.
Here in post-racial America, where having a black president gives Americans a carte blanche to throw political and humane correctness to the wind, race is something to be joked about at all times. It's Juneteenth, the day reserved to celebrate the end of slavery? You're conducting a meeting with primarily African-American employees? By all means, hire a man in a gorilla suit to liven up the mood. It's a holiday, after all!

That's exactly what James L. Henry Sr. and Homer Randle III allege happened two years ago. According to the complaint, filed in the Houston division of U.S. District Court, both men had worked as drivers at Carey of Houston, a limousine service. During a training meeting in June, a man in a gorilla suit, who was hired by the company, came to the safety meeting.

Said Christine Cordell, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs: "The character started flirting with men and sitting on laps, and making sexually suggestive 'jokes', and just all around it was unprofessional."

The gorilla appeared at not one but two safety meetings, she said. "They viewed it as horrifically racist."

But not everyone thought so.

Henry and Randle complained to HR and filed charges of racial discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Cordell said the EEOC called her and said they couldn't figure out if the act was racist or not. "I said, 'Are you kidding me? It's one of the most egregious, overt examples of racism that I've seen in the workplace in 18 years of doing my job.'"

Around the time that Henry and Randle started complaining, the suit says, Carey began reducing their hours. Randle was fired on July 13, said Cordell, less than a month after the incident. Henry's hours were slashed to nearly nothing and his status as a supervisor was taken away.

EEOC eventually reconsidered and issued a cause determination against Carey, which affirmed that racism had taken place.

No one at Carey was available to comment, but we're sure whoever gets back with us isn't racist and has plenty of black friends.

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I'm a pinko at heart, but how is hiring a guy in a gorilla suit to break the monotony of a "safety meeting" an inherently racist act?  Did the gorilla guy make racial jokes while he was sitting on people's laps?   "Two chimps walk into a ghetto..." 

Seriously.  What's the problem?

And when will the Houston Zoo be boycotted for blatantly flaunting their gorillas in front of black people?

(The gorilla making "sexually suggestive jokes" is what they should have been worried about, from an HR perspective.  I wonder if the unspecified jokes were racial.)


What the hell is wrong with people?


Do you know what Juneteenth is? Serious question, because if you know what it is you would realize that associating a gorilla with the day the slaves were freed is fucked up. 


If you have to ask, you probably are racist. Crack open a book, because no one here is going to sit down with you and go through the entire history of racial prejudice and discrimination just because you are so daft as to not see why a gorilla suit on Juneteenth is racist.

Mandy Oaklander
Mandy Oaklander

Really? Neither of you knows about the deeply entrenched, racist history of portraying African-Americans as primates? You somehow managed to escape that ugly mark on our country and the world? What about in 2009, when the New York Post took heat (as they should have) for running a cartoon comparing Obama to a chimp? (

If the allegations are true, this is pretty abominable.

No I don't speak Spanish
No I don't speak Spanish

No Mandy not kidding what is it about people being overley sensitive geez. I agree with ribalding. Is the Zoo going to be boycotted (god i wish it was) for parading around their gorillas in front of blacks my god what the hell is wrong with you ???


I totally understand about the racial history at work here.  Got it.  No problem.

But nobody (as far as this article states) compared any black people to any primates.  There was just a guy in a gorilla suit there. 

The article stated he made sexually suggestive jokes.  I'm betting they were inappropriate, as world class comedians rarely if ever work for $25 + tips while wearing gorilla suits.  But we don't know he said anything racially inappropriate.  He was just a guy in a gorilla suit, making stupid jokes in a safety meeting.  As far as we know. 

Nothing racist there.

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