Viral Video Of Racism In Gym Has Social Media Fuming At Lack Of Concrete Action

Jill O'Rourke | Talent Recap

An venture capitalist in Minneapolis reportedly lost his office lease after being accused of racism for threatening to call the police on a group of black entrepreneurs in his building’s gym. Video of the incident has gone viral.

The man, named Tom Austin, has since said he should have handled the incident “differently.” The three black men he questioned have shared their experience on social media.

Man Accused Of Racism After Gym Incident

The men’s company, Top Figure, posted videos on Instagram showing Tom Austin confronting them about whether they “belong” in the gym. They say they’ve rented a WeWork office space in the building for a year and a half.

The group emphasized that the gym requires a key card for entry, which they have. “We all pay rent here and this man demanded that we show him our key cards or he will call the cops on us,” reads the post.

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In the videos, Tom asks the men what office they’re in. When they decline to give him that information, he says he’s “calling 911.” While he’s on the phone (reportedly with the building’s property manager), one of the men behind the camera says, “As you guys can see, we’re dealing with racism here.”

It’s not the first race-related incident that has gone viral this week. A woman lost her job after calling the police on a black man in Central Park who asked her to leash her dog. The death of George Floyd after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck has also led to protests.

Tom Austin Loses Office Space Over Gym Video

“Should have handled it differently,” Tom Austin said of the incident, according to the StarTribune. “Not my job to have done anything.”

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Tom’s office lease has since been terminated. Stuart Ackerberg, CEO of Ackerberg Group, which owns the building in question, spoke out about the incident to the StarTribune, saying the men appear to have had “every right to be there and to use that amenity.”

“My heart hurts,” Stuart said. “This is not how we do business. … I’m alarmed by what I saw.” He said he informed Tom that he “did not think it was handled well and there are other ways to go about this.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jill O'Rourke
Jill O'Rourke

Jill O’Rourke is a contributor at Talent Recap, writing news stories and recaps for shows like ‘AGT,’ ‘The Voice,’ and ‘American Idol.’ She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and Film Studies, and has been writing about pop culture since 2012, with previous bylines at Crushable and A Plus. Jill spends her free time binge-watching sitcoms and daydreaming about life as a hobbit

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