- A 26-year-old Texas man’s “classy clapback” to racism has gone viral on Twitter with a trending hashtag and video viewed more than four million times on the site.
- Craig Brooks, a guest services employee at a Holiday Inn Express in Austin, Texas, was called a “f*ckin n*gger” by a woman who wanted to stay at the hotel.
- Brooks recorded his encounter with the woman, telling her she couldn’t stay there due to her racist comment. He told INSIDER that his general manager later said he handled the situation perfectly.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Craig Brooks, a 26-year-old guest services employee at a Holiday Inn Express hotel in Austin, Texas, was nearing the end of his shift on Sunday night when he received the call.
The woman on the other end of the line said she needed a room. She sounded aggravated, Brooks told INSIDER, adding that guests typically just make their reservation through an automated system – rather than speaking directly to hotel staff. After taking her credit card information, the woman told Brooks she would be at the hotel within ten minutes.
“OK cool, see you then,” he said in response, without hanging up the phone. But, she didn’t know he was still on the line. At that moment, Brooks heard the woman say: “yeah, that f*ckin n*gger.”
“Excuse me?” he said, stunned by her racist remark. When she showed up a few minutes later, he knew what he needed to do. In a now viral video (with more than four million views as of Monday afternoon), Brooks can be seen standing up to the woman, calmly telling her she can’t stay at the hotel. He recorded their encounter via Snapchat, which is why it’s only a minute long.
“I need to stay here, my mother died,” the woman, who is not seen in the video, can be heard saying.
“I understand that, but you called me a f*ckin n*gger,” he says in response.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she says.
“No, you weren’t sorry when you said it on the phone,” he says, repeatedly noting throughout the exchange: “it’s above me now.”
“I need a room tonight,” the woman says.
“Well, there’s the Best Western next door,” Brooks responds.
On Monday, #ItsAboveMe and Best Western were trending on Twitter – with users across the site creating their own versions of Brook’s comments.
Last day of school.
— Charlie Boma Ye (@Papa_Macc) June 3, 2019
Brooks told INSIDER he was shocked by the woman’s initial remarks.
“This is the first time I can remember I’ve been called a racial slur,” he said. “I’m in Austin, and Austin is very liberal so you don’t have to deal with stuff like that… it amazes me that people still think like that and it’s 2019.”
Following the woman’s phone call, Brooks said he called the hotel management to notify them about her remark. They told him the hotel has a zero tolerance policy of racism towards employees and, as such, didn’t have to accommodate the woman.
“When I said ‘it’s above me’ that’s basically saying you can’t stay even if I wanted to let you stay, because it’s above me,” Brooks said, referring to the hotel policy. The woman ultimately left the hotel and stayed at the Best Western (where Brooks is also an employee). He said he can’t believe the video has gained as much traction as it has – with everyone from comedian Orlando Jones to actress Gabrielle Union talking about the incident on Twitter.
"It's above me. Talk to God about your mother and hotel room. There's a prayer room at the Best Western next door. Toodles." https://t.co/poXkMI6Atg
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) June 3, 2019
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) June 3, 2019
At the end of the day, Brooks says he was just doing his job. He described his response to the woman as a “classy clapback” to racism.
“Being that I’m black in today’s society, we have to know how to deal with racism and combative white people, so we have to look at alternative ways to handle situations instead of being aggressive, because they already see us that way,” Brooks told INSIDER. “I look at it like it’s above me: you’re mad and I’m too good for that. That’s how I’m seeing it and how a lot of people are taking it.”
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