A former bar manager who worked at Columbia, South Carolina’s Moosehead Saloon was fired for dismissing his supervisor’s orders to fire Black staff members.
Josh Sutton worked at the popular Five Points bar for years before being terminated in July. Nevertheless, his days of employment at the place soon came to an end after he declined to grant the owner’s wishes of a whiter crowd and staff.
“He was like ‘you don’t have the people in the bar that I want in the bar,’” Sutton told The State. “There was no need to carry on the conversation anymore. … I told him I’m not going to fire anybody because of their skin color. You’re going to have to fire me if you want that done.”
Sutton received a text in late June from Moosehead owner Matt Shmanske who claimed the “crowd shift” was becoming “too dark.” The former bar manager showed the text message to the news outlet and it read, “Joshua whatever is happening to the crowd shift I want it to stop now. It’s gone too far. I will bring in a entire new staff if needed.”
Shmanske threatened to fire Sutton and he did just that. Staff members including nine Black bouncers and three Black bartenders were told to come in and fill out applications to work at the bar again.
Two Black employees who did receive a call back for the rehiring process, but chose to no longer work for the bar after hearing about their former manager’s termination.
Sutton posted the screenshots of his conversation with Shmanske on social media and has received tons of interactions. One Twitter user shared the text convo and wrote, “Be careful what you support, and know who you’re giving your money to. if you go out tonight and from here on out to 5 pts do NOT go to Moosehead, be the change you wanna see in the world.”
The Moosehead Saloon bar has since received bad reviews and low star ratings. Shmanske has been under fire for his alleged racial behavior.
Sutton told the news outlet, “Everybody that came there, we built off friendships and how we treated people.”