At this point, white people just really need to learn how to read the room.
Just one day after Amy “Central Park Karen” Cooper became internet-infamous for calling the police on a black man after he asked her to leash her dog—a thing that resulted in her losing her job, her dog and her welcome on park grounds—a white man in Minneapolis got himself caught on camera calling the authorities on five black men for using the gym of an office building of which they all are tenants. Now, that white man is suffering losses, as well.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that managing partner of F2 Group Tom Austin lost his lease in a venture capitalist’s office building after a video posted to Instagram showed him going full Karen (or Chad? Steve? Hunter? At some point the black delegation is going to have to settle on a name for male Karens) and threatening to call the police on black men who refused to answer his questions about where their office was.
The black men in question are young entrepreneurs who own Top Figure, a social media and branding agency that is part of the WeWork co-working space in the Mozaic East building where the gym is located. Video footage of the confrontation with Austin was posted to Top Figure’s Instagram page and has since gone viral.
The video starts with Austin holding up his phone presumably to record whatever infraction he thinks is occurring while the men can be heard in the background complaining that they’re just trying to work out in the gym where they’re allowed to be.
“I’m Tom Austin,” Austin said. “I’m a tenant in the building—are you?”
The men answered that they were tenants at which point Austin demands to know which office they work in. After being told that it’s none of his motherfucking business where they work, Austin threatens to call the police on them—he called the property manager instead.
The Mozaic East building is owned by Ackerberg Group and the company’s CEO, Stuart Ackerberg, wasn’t happy after seeing the video.
“My heart hurts,” he said, according to the Tribune. “This is not how we do business. I’m alarmed by what I saw.”
“It appears they had every right to be there and to use that amenity,” he continued.
Austin’s lease was terminated over the incident and he has since offered an apology saying, via email, “Should have handled it differently. Not my job to have done anything.” Of course, like most wypipo apologies, Austin’s came with an explanation. From the Tribune:
Austin, who was a vocal critic of renaming Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska, said in an interview Wednesday that he regretted saying anything to the men and insisted he was not being racist.
He said the building had recently sent out an e-mail reminding them that only tenants were allowed to use the gym and other amenities in the building. He said he was suspicious that the men were not all tenants because he saw one person in the group of five men using his key fob to let others into the bathroom and other doors.
He said they became “aggressive” when he confronted them.
Imagine expecting five men in a group to all be carrying key fobs in their gym shorts just to avoid the suspicion that they were somewhere they didn’t belong. Then imagine those men being the ones characterized as “aggressive.”
It’s also worth mentioning that this happened in the same city where, just a day prior, a white Minneapolis police officer made national headlines for kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a black man who later died, prompting protests against racism and police violence all over the city.
Again, learn how to read the room.