A Sam’s Club employee is outraged after he was asked to re-take his Employee of the Month photo after a customer’s repeated complaints about his “Black Panther” t-shirt.
T.C. Daniels has been an employee at the Lynchburg, Va., Sam’s for 10 years. His strong work ethic and positive attitude was finally rewarded with a spot on the “Employee of the Month” wall in August, station WJLA reported. His photo has remained up since then.
Daniels’ time to shine was soured, however, by a customer who took issue with what he was wearing in the photo and asked that it be taken down. He took to Facebook this week to detail the bogus complaint.
“Yesterday I’m at work and one of my managers calls me into the office,” he wrote. “They tell me a man has called several times to complain about my employee of the month photo. “He believes my shirt is offensive and told them that if it was someone with a KKK shirt on they wouldn’t be allowed to wear that.”
He added: “My store manager is furious at the ignorance of this members complaint. At the request of a marketing compliance manager they ask if I will retake my picture.”
In the photo, Daniels is sporting a t-shirt featuring his favorite Marvel superhero Black Panther. The Sam’s employee said anyone who knows him knows he’s a Marvel superfan, so he’s unsure why the caller made the writing on his shirt political.
“I am not sure what triggered this man or how you get offended by a fictional super hero character,” he wrote of the complaint, which came on the same day of Marvel founder Stan Lee’s death. “I can only assume [he] saw the character’s name and the individual wearing it and chose to make his own assumptions about me.”
Sam’s Club’s compliance department asked that Daniels retake the photo, but he refused, saying he would only agree to re-take it if he could show the entire t-shirt. If not, he was perfectly fine with his spot on the wall remaining blank.
In his Facebook post, Daniels said he “refused [to] appease these type of people or give this man the satisfaction he is so desperately seeking.”
“I’m disappointed that no one in compliance asked to even see my picture before requesting me to change it,” he added. “If I was violating dress code in a way I understand completely, but I feel like for me to take this down and retake it I’m letting this man win and that sends the wrong kind of message.”
On Wednesday, Sam’s Club released a statement supporting Daniel’s decision.
“We respect and support T.C.’s decision not to retake the photo and agree that his shirt is not offensive,” the company wrote. “He’s a great associate and his photo will remain posted.”
Watch more in the clip below.