Lyft driver refusing ride for racial comments leads to public shaming of bar

Warning: Adult Language

A rideshare gone wrong may result in ruin for one Pennsylvania woman after a Lyft driver’s video of their interaction and accusations of blatant racism led to public shaming Friday night.

Lyft driver James Bode arrived outside Fossil’s Last Stand in Catasauqua, Pa., Friday to pick up “Jackie.” Before she had even found herself seated in the rear passenger seat of his car, he was canceling her ride for comments she had made while entering, but it was the exchange with her male companion that led to police involvement.

“F*cking n*gger lover,” the unnamed man was heard shouting as he slammed Bode’s car door shut in the video posted on Facebook. The situation rapidly escalated from the initial reaction when Jackie entered the vehicle with surprise at seeing Bode, stating, “Wow, you’re like a white guy.”

When the driver responded with confusion she asked to make sure she hadn’t been mistaken, “Are you like a white guy? You’re like a normal guy. Like you speak English,” she went on as Bode appeared incredulous.

“No, you can get out of the car. I’m gonna cancel the ride,” he told her matter-of-factly. “That’s inappropriate. It’s completely inappropriate. If somebody were not white sitting in this seat, what would be the difference?”

“Are you serious?” the woman asked as her companion entered the scene. When Bode explained what happened and reiterated that he was not going to take the ride, the man exclaimed, “You’re a f*cking a**hole!”

“You’re a piece of sh*t. I should punch you in the f*cking face,” the unidentified man replied.

“You’re gonna threaten me? Assault?” the driver asked after reminding the man that he was recording the interaction. He then added his reasoning for the denial of service, “Cause you guys are racist f*cks.”

The man could be heard continuing to swear as he helped the woman out of the vehicle. He then slammed the car door shut as he proclaimed the driver to be a “f*cking n*gger lover,” prompting Bode to remove his seatbelt and inform the would-be passenger, “I’m calling the cops on you man. It’s all on camera. It’s all on camera. You guys own the place? Is it your place? That’s great, everyone’s gonna know. ‘Fossil’s Last Stand’ for black people, right?”

However, since the incident occurred it has been presumed from Bode’s recorded questioning of the ownership of Fossil’s Last Stand that the Jackie seeking a ride may be the Jackie Harford who is the proprietor of the bar.

As a result, social media has responded with attacks against the establishment that has since shut down its own online accounts.

Yelp also temporarily blocked adding reviews for the bar after it was inundated with posts like, “Well since we shut down your business what are you doing today, bleaching your sheets?” and “When will you guys go back to where you came from? Somewhere in Europe I assume? Where did your ancestors come from when they invaded this land and inflicted mass genocide on the Natives of this land?? Serious question.”

Another wrote, “Are masks required or do customers need to bring their own white hood.”

Yelp released a Public Attention Alert stating, “This business recently received increased public attention resulting in an influx of people posting their view to this page, so we have temporarily disabled the ability to post here as we work to investigate the content. While racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any form, all reviews on Yelp must reflect an actual first-hand consumer experience.”

Pressure is being placed on other businesses, like Groupon, to cut ties with the bar.

In the post on Facebook, Bode went on to describe the event, his reason for sharing the video, and his perspective.

“There was a police report filed (only because of the assault threat) not sure if that will do anything…if you make me feel uncomfortable, I will absolutely do the same, especially in my car or property,” he noted.

Catasauqua police Chief Douglas Kish reported to Lehigh Valley Live that an investigation was underway but that no charges had been filed.

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