Carryout Courier: York driver accused of rallying in Charlottesville resigns
A delivery man for a York County service resigned amid accusations that he was among white supremacists who attended a rally earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia.
More than 300 people signed a petition urging Carryout Courier founder Chad Eisenhart to fire a man who is believed to have attended a white supremacist rally on Aug. 12 in Charlottesville.
Carryout Courier is a company that delivers takeout from certain restaurants that do not offer delivery. It operates in York, Lancaster and Harrisburg.
The petition, published on Change.org Tuesday, Aug. 22, by Put People First, PA, states that a man pictured at the rally is a delivery man for the business.
A picture circulating on Facebook showed the man wearing a helmet and goggles, and he is holding a makeshift shield with a skull on it.
"This coalition is calling on you to protect your customers and your community by immediately terminating the employment of this self-declared white supremacist," the petition reads in part. "A man who has willingly aligned himself with murderous, hateful bigots cannot be trusted to interact with the public. He especially should not be trusted with customers' personal information and access to their homes."
On Tuesday, Carryout Courier posted on its Facebook page that the employee in question chose to voluntarily resign, effective immediately.
"We do not share the views expressed by the former employee. We also respect our employees' right to their own choices and opinions — especially when they are off the clock. Employees are free to make their own choices, as long as they are within the law," a portion of the post reads.
The photo was brought to the attention of Carryout Courier early last week. according to Eisenhart.
A post dated Aug. 14 said the company was aware of the photo and that the business was gathering information. The post asked people with additional information to message the page.
Contacted Wednesday, Aug. 23, by The York Dispatch, Eisenhart said the accused employee confirmed to him that he had attended the Charlottesville rally.
The man, whose identity has not been confirmed by The York Dispatch, worked for Carryout Courier for about a year, and Eisenhart said he had never received any complaints about him from customers, restaurants or other employees.
"I try to create a positive work environment," Eisenhart said. "Based on his work performance, he was doing what he was hired to do."
Carla Christopher, who helped write the petition, said she had sent an email to Eisenhart on Aug. 18 detailing her concerns about a man who aligned himself with white supremacists having access to people's homes, personal information and credit card information.
"This isn't about a guy's politics; this is about violent hatred," Christopher said, adding that Eisenhart never responded to her email.
Christopher said she and other activists took steps to ensure they weren't misidentifying the accused, which has happened in other parts of country as social media users, such as @YesYoureRacist, attempt to identify people who rallied in Charlottesville based on pictures.
The New York Times detailed a story of an Arkansas man misidentified by social-media users who faced racism accusations and demands that he lose his job.
Others associated with the petition did get in touch with Eisenhart, Christopher said, and he did not deny that his employee was at the rally, which they took as an admission.
Christopher said she and others waited to post their petition publicly until it was clear Eisenhart wasn't going to do anything
Eisenhart said his main responsibility is running a business, not supervising what his employees do during their own time.
He added that he wasn't disappointed his employee resigned.
No other employees have expressed concern since the issue became public, he said. One restaurant expressed concern, but that restaurant is satisfied now that the employee no longer works for Carryout Courier, he added.
"Others have tried to associate his actions with the business, which I think is unfortunate," Eisenhart said. "I think it's incorrect that they came to that conclusion."
Christopher said she wasn't personally satisfied with the company's response, and she doesn't plan on patronizing Carryout Courier in the future, but she respects others' decision to continue using the service.
She said she made it clear in a Facebook message to the company that she wanted to use this situation as a chance to heal the racial divide in the county. She offered to set up a public or private meeting for the employee and/or owner to discuss their views and hear from the activists, but she hasn't heard back yet.
"The end goal is to find a path toward healing and reconciliation and growth," Christopher said, "but my first priority is safety."
She said she doesn't take the action of advocating for removing someone's employment and means of livelihood lightly.
"This is not about one individual," Christopher said. "It's about dismantling systemic racism. Casual racism has been accepted in York County for too long.
"I hope this ends up being about more than just one guy resigning," she said. "I hope this sends a message to those facing hate that don't think they have any advocates ... there are good people in Pennsylvania, too."