Culture Feature

"RIP Taco Bell": Denzel Skinner and the Corporate Suppression of Free Speech

Corporations want their workers to be soulless automatons.

Last week a Black man named Denzel Skinner went live on Facebook while in the process of being fired from his job at a Youngstown, Ohio Taco Bell for refusing to change his Black Lives Matter face mask.

Skinner, who had worked at Taco Bell for eight years, had switched to that mask—which allowed him to breathe more easily than his other—after the location's air conditioning stopped working. The video opens with Skinner explaining the situation from his car in the parking lot before his manager—who remains out of sight—approaches to talk to him.

She claims that it's not up to her, that there's "a company thing" dictating that face masks have to be plain and that the "political" message of Skinner's mask could not be allowed.

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