Sandwich chain Jimmy John's announced that four of its workers have been fired after a video showing them making a noose out of bread dough began circulating on social media.
A male employee at a Jimmy John's store in Woodstock, Georgia slipped the dough noose around his neck while another male worker held the "rope" above him to give the appearance that the noose was tight. A third worker stood off to the side laughing while a fourth filmed the video.
The clip was shared widely on social media over the weekend.
On Sunday, Jimmy John's issued a statement announcing the workers had been fired.
"We have zero tolerance for racism or discrimination in any form. The franchisee has taken immediate action and the employees have been terminated. The actions seen in this video are completely unacceptable and do not represent the Jimmy John's brand," the statement said.
The statement was made in reply to a Twitter user who posted the video and suggested the boys had previously made nooses.
"In Woodstock GA at a Jimmy Johns, some white employees made a noose, look at the DETAILS in the damn noose dough that's used for sandwiches. Crazy. They done this before...," the user wrote.
As of this publication, there is no evidence to suggest the workers in the video were involved in any previous noose making.
Nooses have been historically associated with executions, and in modern history the lynchings of black Americans by gangs of racist white people, especially in the American south.
In the weeks following the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests against police brutality and systemic racism, a string of individuals were found hanging from trees across the country. Though police ruled them all suicides, sceptics argued it was more than coincidence that six people of colour were found hanging from trees in the midst of one of the largest racial justice upheavals in US history.
More recently, Nascar driver Bubba Wallace reported that he found what appeared to be a noose hanging in his assigned garage at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. The FBI eventually determined the rope - which was tied using the same loops used in preparing a noose - was simply a garage pull-down rope and not meant as a racial threat.
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