A nurse in Kansas City, Missouri, earned a spot in the unemployment line this week after posting a photo of herself and her husband sporting blackface while dressed as superstars Beyoncé and Jay-Z for a Halloween-themed event.
St. Luke’s Health System confirmed Shelbi Heenan‘s firing in a statement Tuesday, condemning the registered nurse’s racially insensitive costume.
“While it is against Saint Luke’s policy to comment on specific personnel matters, we can confirm that this individual is no longer a Saint Luke’s employee,” the statement read. “Saint Luke’s is deeply committed to our culture of diversity and inclusion. It’s fundamental to who we are as an organization and we vigorously protect it on behalf of all our patients and employees and expect those who represent us to do the same.”
The hospital said it became aware of the incident Monday after an angry user reached out and reported the photo of Heenan and her husband, Costco Wholesale employee Jasmond Heenan, shared on social media showing the couple cheesing alongside one another with their faces painted Black.
According to FOX4 KC, there’s another photo of the nurse from 2009 where she’s dressed up as another member of Destiny’s Child.
Heenan’s Facebook account has been shuttered in the wake of the backlash, and she has yet to comment on the offensive photo, the station reported.
The nurse’s firing comes just a week after TV host Megyn Kelly was booted from NBC over her comments defending blackface, arguing the practice is “OK, just as long as you were dressing as a character.” Kelly, 47, later apologized for her on-air statements, telling viewers now is the “time for more understanding, more love, more sensitivity and honor.”
However, Dr. Makini King with the University of Missouri-Kansas says it’s going to take more than firings to address blackface and cultural insensitivity. She told local station KCTV that more education is key.
“We need to do better at teaching history, and we also need to be more integrated,” said King, a psychologist in the UMKC Department of Diversity and Inclusion “We need to encourage relationships with people who are not like us, and that’s a very deliberate thing. It has to be done.”
She added, “It doesn’t just happen because you know you’re a good person. … People have to deliberately form relationships with other people so that they have better information about other people’s cultures what’s appropriate and what’s not and then also they get to humanize other people.”
There’s no word on whether Heenan’s husband will face discipline from Costco over the costume.
Watch more in the clip below.