For many viewers, watching a group of construction workers walk off a shop floor in protest might have been rousing enough. But when Antoine Dangerfield’s video of his Latino coworkers went viral last week, people on social media were particularly taken by Dangerfield’s commentary and his infectious enthusiasm at what was transpiring.
“They are not bullshitting!” He narrates, a smile palpable in his voice. “They”—referring to the company bosses—“thought they was gonna play with these amigos, and they said, ‘aw yeah, we rise together, homie.’ And they leaving!”
Now Dangerfield, who said he had recently been offered a team lead job working as a contracted construction worker, says he’s been fired as a result of posting the video—after initially being offered $250 to take it down.
“It was at 1.1 million views on Facebook at that point. So there was nothing I could do,” Dangerfield said in a recent interview with Jacobin magazine
He also made it clear he has no regrets about filming the display of worker solidarity.
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“[The video] is funny or whatever, but people love seeing people come together like that. That’s why it’s so viral. Because everybody wants that deep down,” he told the magazine.
Dangerfield also laid out what had been going at the site, where different contractors were working on building a UPS superhub in Indianapolis. According to the 30-year-old welder, the Latino workers had an issue with a white safety coordinator who would constantly harass them—“always messing with them, taking pictures and videos, trying to get them fired.”
“He was just a racist, basically — always messing with anybody who’s not white,” Dangerfield said.
Typically, the workers would try to stay out of his way and warn each other when they saw him approaching, but they reached their limit, Dangerfield said, after a safety meeting. The safety coordinator asked one of the Latino workers to translate; the worker refused, saying he didn’t want to do it.
The safety coordinator became visibly upset and dismissed the meeting, Dangerfield said. Then, he tried to fire a handful of the workers.
“He’s walking around just sending them home, trying to fire them. So he sent like five or six of them home,” he recalled. “So the Hispanics got together and were like, ‘Nah. We got families and kids. We’re not about to let these dudes just do whatever.’ So they took a stand.”
According to Dangerfield, the safety coordinator was fired, as was he.
“The owners of [the construction contractors] came down, corporate people from UPS,” he told Jacobin. “They’re real mad about it. They tried to pay me $250 to take it down. But there’s nothing I could do about it. I didn’t expect it to be this big.”
But Dangerfield, still very much moved by what he saw on the shop floor, describes the event as “life-changing,” and hopes the video empowers the people who watch it. As he says in the video, he particularly wants black people to emulate the example shown in it.
“Everybody wants to move as one. That’s why you look at the comments [on the video] and see black people saying, ‘Yeah, that’s what we need to do,’ he said.
“[The workers] were walking out with their heads up, strong. It touched me... I was like, wow, this is beautiful,” said Dangerfield.
“That’s why I’m not mad about the video, about getting fired. Because it’s five million people who saw that. And it might change their view on things,” he said. “So me losing a job is nothing compared to the big picture.”
In the meantime, a GoFundMe has been started for Dangerfield, who had recently moved back to Indianapolis from California so he can be with his son.
In a recent Facebook post responding to the donors, who raised nearly $30,000 in 2 days, Dangerfield called the outpouring “surreal.”
“It really goes to show how much we as a people want and can stand together,” he said.