NEWS: A woman claiming to be a Home Depot employee posted racially offensive social media comments in the wake of the Charleston shooting, but the situation was not what it appeared to be.
On 17 June 2015, nine black churchgoers were shot and killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, an event that prompted nationwide mourning and outrage. In the wake of the event, many social media users published commentary reacting to the massacre — including a Texas woman named Patrice Pace, who posted racially offensive updates to a Facebook page that identified her as an employee of Home Depot:
I’m down for randomly killing white people [real shit] … I’ll gladly walk into a pet store or Starbucks and just start bussin
America received 400 years of free labor and beyond that they still managed to do as much as they can to bring black people down, here it is 2015 and we excell in everything from sports to music and everything we touch. The problem is that white people can’t stand that we’re natural born winners, so the result is continuous racism and killing. We have over come and shall continue to overcome.
Radio host Wayne Dupree reproduced a screenshot of Pace’s comments on his own Facebook page, saying
Hey The Home Depot, not sure I want to enter your place of business if Ms Pace is working for your stores.
Home Depot immediately acknowledged the controversy on Twitter but denied that Pace was an employee of the company:
@Lrihendry We have investigated this and can’t find any evidence that this person works for Home Depot.
— The Home Depot (@HomeDepot) June 20, 2015
Pace then spoke to the Dallas Morning News‘ “Scoop Blog” and admitted that she was not employed by Home Depot:
Home Depot is being slammed on social media because a Dallas woman who claimed to be an employee posted on Facebook that she was “down for randomly killing white people” in response to the massacre of blacks at a Charleston, SC, church.
But the woman, Patrice Pace, 23, who is black, says she doesn’t actually work for Home Depot and was just joking on her personal page among her friends. The national chain confirmed it can’t find “any evidence” Pace has ever worked there.
She said that she didn’t know why she picked Home Depot. Just random, she said.
“Same reason it says I live in Jamaica, like, I don’t know,” she said. “I’m pretty sure Home Depot’s getting plenty of phone calls and looking through their employee list looking for Patrice Pace.”
Pace said a police officer knocked on her door and questioned her about the post, asking her to delete it (which she said she already had done at that point). She told “Scoop Blog” that she made the posts during a “tense” moment, but that “it’s only the white people that have taken it seriously.”
Home Depot was not the only large chain store in Texas to endure fleeting but misplaced social media attention in the wake of the shooting. A Texarkana woman claimed that she was targeted by black shoppers at a Walmart but apparently faked her injuries.