It’s bad enough to have egg on one’s face. It’s worse to remain seemingly clueless about it.
Martin Folse, owner of Lousiana TV station HTV, took to the airwaves to launch a tirade against a convenience store clerk after being told by a local man, Dr. Phillip McAllister, that the clerk had made disrepsectful statements about military veterans. The man and the clerk had a verbal altercation and, according to McAlister, the clerk called all veterans “f—ing a–holes.”
Without speaking to the clerk or store management, Folse used an hour of his show, ‘Bayou Time”, to blast the clerk and make claims that convenience stores in Lousiana were being used as fronts to raise funds for Middle-Eastern terrorist groups. Folse also took to Facebook promote the show, implying that the store was selling drugs and shipping the money overseas to fund terrorism.
This segment hit YouTube and Facebook, riling up local veteran and prompting about 40 protesters to show up at the store the next day. Those interviewed said that they were worried about the threat posed by having Muslims, or at least, Middle-Easterners in their communities.
Racism and xenophobia aside, there’s another level of ignorance involved here.
The clerk in question is Middle Eastern or Muslim. 25-year-old Sadar Sikhada is a student from Nepal. His parents are Hindus but, he ascribes to no particular faith. The owner of the convenience store is Vietnamese and has been in Lousiana since the age of 4.
According to the clerk, the exchange between himself and Dr. McAllister did not go the same as stated in the segment, though he admits referring to McAllister himself using profanity:
“He came to my store and when he came inside he saw me and said, ‘Give me Copenhagen straight snuff. There is no Copenhagen straight snuff; there is Copenhagen long cut or Copenhagen snuff. There is no Copenhagen straight snuff. He slides the card, I gave him the whole roll. The receipt did not come out, I said you want Copenhagen straight snuff? So I sold him the other, Copenhagen long cut. He said that is not the right one. He said in America there is two kinds of tobacco, long cut and snuff. OK, I know about that, too. I said, ‘You want Copenhagen snuff, I will give you Copenhagen snuff. He said people from outside, or people from Middle East, don’t know how to serve Americans. When he told me that I got mad. I am not even from the Middle East. He was on the way to leave. He left the Copenhagen on the counter and he had already slide his card. I told him if you think so you are a f—ing a—hole. That is all I said. He said stay away from me and I say again you are a f—ing a—hole. And that is all I said.”
The store owner has reprimanded the clerk over the argument and transferred him to another store.
Since the original airing of the show, the host has toned down his rhetoric in the face of questions about his lack of research and facts in regards to this story.