Syracuse, NY – Dunkin’ Donuts said it has fired the employees who made a video of themselves pouring a pitcher of water on a homeless man in the dining area of the restaurant (video below).
The video, which was posted on social media on Sunday, showed the man, who goes by both Jeremy Dufresne and Jeremy Youngs, sitting in a booth with his head resting on his arms on the table inside the Syracuse store, WMUR reported.
An employee then reached over the back of the booth, and dumped a full pitcher of water onto Dufresne.
The drenched man scurried to retrieve his belongings, as the employees laughed and heckled him.
“How many times have I tell you to stop sleepin’ in here, my n—-r?” one worker asked.
“It was an accident,” Dufresne said, as he folded up his wet cell phone charging cable.
“No, it was no accident, bro,” the employee replied. “You know I’m not playing with you. I ain’t gonna call the cops on you… You’re gonna get out of here.”
The Wolak Group, which owns the Dunkin’ Donuts store where the incident occurred, said they were “extremely disturbed by the behavior of our employees captured in the video,” WMUR reported.
“It not only violated our written policies, but goes against our core values as an organization, which include creating a welcoming and hospitable environment and treating everyone with dignity and respect,” the Wolak Group’s statement read.
In an interview with WRAL, Dufresne’s aunt, Betty Jo Craven, said she was “appalled” when she discovered what had happened to her nephew, who she said suffers from schizophrenia and epilepsy.
She described Dufresne as a “very warm, caring, laid back person,” who leaves others alone and “doesn’t speak unless he’s spoken to.”
Craven said Dufresne has stayed with her in the past, but that he sometimes prefers to stay out on the streets, WRAL reported.
Al-amin Muhammad, an advocate for the homeless, said he went to the Dunkin’ Donuts store on Monday to talk to employees about what had occurred, USA Today reported.
Muhammad said he felt that the business disregarded his concerns, so he organized a protest in front of the store later in the day.
“My message was to them that nobody deserves to be treated like this because I was treated like this when I was homeless,” Muhammad told the news outlet.
Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee and Wolak Group Chief Operating Officer Kimberly Wolak subsequently issued a statement confirming that the involved employees had been fired as a result of the incident, but she did not say how many workers had been terminated.
She said the company plans to apologize to Dufresne, and that they will also work with local advocates to provide training to their employees with regards to their interactions with the homeless population.
Samuel Breazeale, who posted the video of the incident online, also established a fundraising campaign to help Dufresne to “get on his feet,” according to the fundraising page.
“I finally got in contact with his brother and mom,” Breazeale wrote on the page. “All proceeds made are going to Jeremy and family to help him get on his feet so there will be no more nights at Dunkin’ Donuts.”
The fund had raised almost $9,000 as of Tuesday morning.
You can watch the viral video below: