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An outpouring of online support began Monday as video emerged on social media showing a Holiday Inn Express employee having a mental breakdown as he was harassed by an irate guest recording his encounter with the front desk receptionist.
A Holiday Inn employee, later identified as “Caleb,” appeared to hit himself repeatedly in the head before bashing the computer in front of him as a guest angrily chastised the worker for “stealing” his money, changing his reservation. The unnamed Holiday Inn worker in the now-viral video has become the center of a racial debate after it was framed as “white” versus “black” issue by self-proclaimed “race baiter” Tariq Nasheed. The employee framed the situation in a different light, posting on Reddit that he suffers from mental illness, prompting GoFundMe support as well as hundreds of posts offering solidarity.
A GoFundMe page started for the Holiday Inn employee raised more than $35,000 in under 24 hours since the incident was first posted to Twitter. The creator of the GoFundMe page, Jeremy Hambly, blasted the man who recorded the video as someone chasing social media “clout.” The employee claimed the guest called him a homophobic slur.
“A Holiday Inn employee was harassed and filmed by a customer having a mental breakdown & is now receiving death threats & having thoughts of self-harm,” Hambly wrote. “It turns out this employee has BPD with schizo-active tendencies. According To Him. Let’s give him enough of a head start on finding a job where people don’t treat him terrible & he can take a nice little vacation.”
“While I’ve now quit this position (my management supported me, and told me I’m welcome back. The guest was ejected from the hotel for escalating issues with staff and the owners.) I do have mental disorders,” the Holiday Inn employee wrote on Reddit Monday evening, as the video began circulating across social media platforms.
“I suffer from BPD and schizo-affective disorders. What this fine, 5’5″ bald gentleman behind the camera DIDN’T record was the fact that he called me a F**GOT for an associates mistake. He was aggressive, and fishing for a reaction. He sure got it; and I’m glad this was a wake up call for me to stop slaving away for corporations who do not care about you at all, or the guests,” the employee continued.
According to the employee’s Reddit post response, he has since quit his position at the Holiday Inn hotel and the guest was ejected from staying there for escalating issues with staff and the owners.
Hambly wrote on the GoFundMe account page that he reached out to the employee seen in the video in order to verify his identity. “I will pass over the ENTIRE account to him,” the organizer added.
“A white Holiday Inn Express worker has a nervous breakdown after he got scolded by a Black customer because of a mistake in the reservation system,” Tariq Nasheed tweeted Monday, prompting scorn from many who saw it as an unnecessarily divisive and race-focused framing of the video.
“You’ve ruined my whole life, man,” the visibly distressed employee tells the irate guest recording him. “Wow. You’ve got to be kidding me,” the man holding the phone says.
“The Holiday Inn employee video I posted that went viral, has a lot of white supremacists using the man’s disorder as a way to project their anti-Black racism. He admitted he had a disorder. But he also admitted he was drunk on the job. So did that contribute to his breakdown?” Nasheed wrote in response.
Newsweek reached out to Holiday Inn’s corporate offices as well as the creator of the GoFundMe for additional details Tuesday morning.