A Young Woman Gets Fired After Calling President Obama A Racial Slur On Facebook

Bet You Can Guess Which Racial Slur She Called Him

President Obama is a lot of things. The President of the United States, for one. A husband, a father, and– strangely enough– a former subject of Terry Richardson‘s photographic lens. But I’m pretty sure he’s not a ‘nigger,’ which is what a woman in California called him on her Facebook page. Now granted, thousands of others did the same online (and, I’m sure, in the privacy of their own homes), but this particular young woman’s boss wasn’t having it. Neither is the Secret Service. Click inside to learn more.

Complex has the story, and here’s the video to go with:

22-year-old Denise Helms has won the scorn of the nation after leaving a Facebook status update where shereferred to President Obama as “the nigger,” and called for his assassination during his second term. For her ignorance, Helms lost her job at Cold Stone Creamery and earned the attention of the Secret Service. Though she admitted that the whole “assassination” part of her comment was harsh, she wasn’t apologetic at all.

“I’m not saying like I would go do that or anything like that, by any means” she said. “But if it was to happen, I don’t think I’d care one bit.” She also denied that her use of the word “nigger” makes her racist, saying that she was only stating her opinion. But when asked if she associated the word with President Obama, she said yes. Apparently, in her warped mind, that makes sense.

Cold Stone Creamery store director Chris Kegle didn’t take too kindly to her comments, so he fired Helms. A Secret Service agent from the Sacramento office reached out to her, saying that her comments will be reviewed.

You see? This is exactly why I don’t believe you can reclaim the word ‘nigger.’ It just doesn’t pan out in the end. Now, without getting into whether or not this woman is a racist or not (if we can), I’m really interested in this new wave of Facebook firings. I mean, sometimes I still can’t believe that you can actually get fired for something you say on Facebook… but I’m kind of into it! The lines between so-called ‘reality’ and ‘technology’ are blurring all of the time and I don’t think there’s really such thing as a Facebook world that is completely separate from the real world. They’re coexisting and we need to accept this.

However, I can’t help but wonder if the Cold Stone store director was right to fire her. Did he fire her because she appeared to be a racist… and can/should you do that? Unemployment would sky-rocket like cray, lol! Or did he fire her because she spoke violently against the President– and, if so, does that bring up Free Speech issues? I dunno. I’m not fighting for Ms. Denise to get her job back, and I sure as hell wouldn’t want her spitting ‘nigger’ into my birthday cake remix (damn, I could go for one of those right now), but I’m wondering if this particular story will open up the door for more situations where Facebook status updates start being taken more seriously. And is that a good thing?

And seriously people. Can we stop calling President Obama a ‘nigger’? That’s so not creative.

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  1. I can’t focus on anything other than the fact that she actually says she wouldn’t care one bit if the he was assassinated. WHAT??? If someone actually killed the President of the United States she wouldn’t care at all?! Even if that is something your twisted mind actually thinks, for your own reputation please keep that to yourself! Good lord. At least pretend to regret that part of your Facebook status. Especially when the Secret Service is looking into… This woman is an idiot. Wow.

    • Megan

      Agreed. What kind of human being doesn’t care one bit when another human being – a husband and father – is killed? She was fired because nobody wants a complete whack job working for them.

    • smASH

      That’s exactly what I thought too!! Whatever her personal hate towards people and who they are but to say that she wouldn’t care if someone didn’t exists? The person who is the leader of our country dies and you think it would be nothing? What about the military men and women and how they would be affected to lose their commander and chief? His family? Our future? What craziness…..

    • Poor woman is so ignorant she doesn’t even have a connection with humanity… sickening. Karma, it’s there for a reason.

  2. I can’t focus on anything other than the word ‘Job’ randomly included in the title of this post… LoL ok, but seriously. This woman is cray, and I might have felt a slight tinge of sympathy for her if the job she lost was a salaried position, but (no surprise) she’s ignorant, low income, and (presumably) uneducated. Ironically, the exact breed of American Obama is trying to help out… Gurl puh-lease.

  3. HA! She got exactly what she deserved. And from the looks of her picture, the store director actually did her a favor by firing her. Looks like she dipped into the ice cream once too many times. Anyway, my boyfriend is black, and the “N” word is totally not acceptable, it’s racist and I simply cannot with that word. She is definitely a uneducated person from what I can tell. I am still amazed it is 2012-almost 2013!-and we still have people with these views? Are you kidding?

  4. woodroad34

    This “woman” is no better than trailer trash or any of the Palins. One of the problems with social media like Facebook or twitter, is that people think they’re anonymous and unbound by social parameters. They’re not whispering their inner secrets to a select few, they’re announcing them to the whole world–people they don’t know but whom they influence. She’s immature, unsophisticated, socially undesirable in the mainstream (she may still have her thug cabal, but that’s it). She should be fired, chastised, and set up as a pariah until she’s learned to grow up.

  5. Sofia

    Ugh. I can’t even. Regardless of how you feel about Obama’s politics and the job he’s done, he is still OUR PRESIDENT and people need to start showing some freaking respect. I don’t mean to say you can’t criticize him (duh, thats part of what this country was founded on, free speech and the ability to criticize the government without being persecuted) but calling him something so hurtful and painfully antiquated and to call for his assassination is unacceptable. The racism present in this country right now is just ridiculous. I thought we’d made strides in our society but apparently not.

  6. Kat

    Much like the people highlighted in the recent Jezebel story (about teens who tweeted racist items about the president), this woman will be forever linked to this story. When potential employers google her, her name will be associated with this story. She could be really impacting her future job potential, not only now, but years down the road. It’s like people don’t think before they use the internet.

  7. I really hope the Secret Service is doing their job and protecting the President. I have read some really disturbing things on
    Facebook and Twitter. We are moving forward as a society, but some people hang despretely onto their racism. Sad.

  8. Ella

    It’s fine to think the President isn’t doing well, but to shrug off the death of a beloved father and a husband is heartless, soulless and just…ugh. I have been shocked by the amount of obvious racism President Obama’s win has kicked up.
    Then again Fox “news” put out some numbers that basically said a lot of states that voted Romney are poorly educated compared to the ones that voted Obama. It’s doubly hilarious because they insulted pretty much ALL their viewers!

  9. When you get a job (or join a sports team, extra curricular, etc.), you agree to be a ‘representative’ of that company, be it a dishwasher, or a manager of some sort anything you say or do falls into that. She has free speech to say it, but Coldstone (or what ever ) has the right to act how they see fit. Obviously, if she were wrongly fired she could take further steps necessary…but people need to realize what they say online (especially on sites where their real name/photos/etc. are shown) are words that belong to them. Social networking is about expressing yourself, you just need to own the words you use.

    • Also, I’d really like to see these naysayers of the president discuss WHY they don’t believe in him rather than spewing racial slurs and nothing more.

  10. Was her employer right in firing her? Maybe. I mean – who wants to be known as the employer of a racist. Which is what she is. People ought to realize that every action and every word we utter has a consequence regardless of our intentions. Maybe by this and other similar situations people will start motivating people to think “Should I re-think this post / tweet?” before posting anything that will have long-term consequences on their lives.

  11. muchacha

    Although I agree with @Homer Zerrudo that people need to take ownership of their online identities and question/requestion their posts, I also think there’s a need for “digital presence” curriculum in schools. In my mind, these teachings would probably start around the age of 12-13 to match the age when teens can sign up for their own accounts on various social media sites. Kids need to be educated about the blurring lines between online presence and reality, and like @Kat said, to have an understanding that what they post online will not simply disappear. The internet is not as anonymous as it used to be. Unfortunately for us older folk, we’re the ones who have had to learn by trial and error.

  12. The employer is right to fire her, based on the assumption that when she was hired she signed certain documents that pertain to the company being an at-will employer, and code of conduct documents. If they violate that code of conduct, the at will employer maintained those rights. Plus, she must have had a horrible attitude at the work place, they didn’t back her at all. Three strikes, you’re out!

  13. nony

    I think she was probably fired for the “assassination” part of the comment rather than the racist slur (if they actually fired her for the post at all.) Threatening the President is a very serious thing and there is a low threshold for what is considered a threat. I remember reading (years ago, pre-internet) a story about someone who had checked out a library book about US Presidents and had written in the margin of one page that the current President was no good and should be shot. Months later, someone else checked out the book and noticed the notation. They reported it to the library, who notified the Secret Service, who tracked down everyone who had checked out the book. They identified the writer by his handwriting and he was in deep trouble.

  14. I don’t think her Free Speech is being infringed upon. She’s certainly able to say what she wishes (and obviously did), but that doesn’t mean she or anyone else can say whatever without consequence – and alluding to somebody’s death, especially the President, is a really big deal with potentially big consequences.

    I’m not at all impressed with her. I imagine that if she was questioned further, she’s the type who would say, “Well, there’s black people and then there’s [I'm not black, so I'm uncomfortable even typing that slur], and Obama’s the latter. Duh.”

  15. mabel

    Saying you have other friends of different nationalities doesn’t mean you aren’t racist. Using the excuse, “I have black friends so I’m not racist towards black people” isn’t a logical response to her questioned sense of racism. And saying she wouldn’t care if he was assassinated? He’s not only our president, but a father and a husband. I love how when people like her say he hasn’t done anything for our country. Do you think he’s just been playing golf this whole time? He works incredibly hard and has made LOTS of progress. I try not to judge people for the things they aren’t aware of (even though they are at some fault for not educating themselves) but when someone like her must know that she isn’t even aware of politics

  16. Mabel

    Saying you have other friends of different nationalities doesn’t mean you aren’t racist. Using the excuse, “I have black friends so I’m not racist towards black people” isn’t a logical response to her questioned sense of racism. And saying she wouldn’t care if he was assassinated? He’s not only our president, but a father and a husband. I love how when people like her say he hasn’t done anything for our country. Do you think he’s just been playing golf this whole time? He works incredibly hard and has made lots of progress. I’m okay with people not having the same view. I try not to judge people for the things they aren’t aware of (even though they are at some fault for not educating themselves) but when someone like her must know that she isn’t even aware of his politics, and decides to just go with what she’s probably heard, that is incredibly hard to watch and swallow. She’s someone who says things for the shock factor and stubborn enough not to take it back when even the reporter gives her multiple opportunities to take it back. She absolutely should have been fired. The company shouldn’t have to associate themselves with her. And people definitely should be responsible for the things they say over the internet. People are too emboldened by the anonymity and lack of face-to-face interaction to say such mean things. That’s how cyber bulling works.

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