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Rush Street Bartender Fired After Using N-Word In Facebook Post

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Facebook Logo (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Facebook Logo (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A Gold Coast nightclub bartender has been fired for posting a rant on her Facebook page that included the use of the N-word to describe African-American customers.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports, the bartender worked at Proof nightclub, at 1045 N. Rush St.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Maudlyne Ihejirika reports the bartender left the following post on her Facebook wall: “Wow so insane how one race of people can be so f***ing incompetent and disgusting.”

Apparently encouraged by others who clicked “like” on her Facebook posting, she went on, writing at one point: “send them all somewhere i don’t care where. they make everything dirty ignorant . . . f***ing n*****s.”

The posts were picked up by the blog 312DiningDiva.com, which named the bartender and included her Facebook profile picture as it advised readers to “prepare to get ill.”

The postings have become fodder for publications including the New York Daily News, London’s Daily Mail and the Huffington Post and also have been discussed by conservative commentator Glenn Beck.

The bartender was fired virtually on the spot.

“She was fired 20 minutes after I saw the post,” Zoe Gainey, the club’s marketing and events manager, said Wednesday. Gainey would not identify the woman, whose full name wasn’t on the Facebook posts, which have been taken down.

Club owner Mike Bloem said: “Proof would like to confirm its belief in equality, fairness and tolerance to all our friends and partners. Sadly, on occasion, we are all exposed to ignorance and racism.”

The Rush Street nightclub that fired the bartender was within its rights in firing her over a post on Facebook, according to Lori Andrews, a professor at Chicago’s IIT-Kent College of Law who wrote a book on social networks, I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did.

“People can be fired for their social network posts,” Andrews said. “The First Amendment only gives you rights against the government, not private employers.”

312DiningDiva.com reiterated the point that the First Amendment was irrelevant. The blog quoted Columbia College marketing communication consultant John V. Moore as saying the First Amendment “only prohibits the government from making a law that would impede her freedom of speech. She exercised that freedom, which is her right, and if her employer wishes to fire her or people wish to complain they are within their rights as well.”

A similar controversy erupted this past winter when the former head of a youth baseball coach in Oak Lawn used the N-word in a Facebok post.

Jon Kelly first stepped down as president of the Westside Baseball League of Oak Lawn, and later resigned altogether, after it was made public that he wrote, “I’m so sick of this dumb, stupid n****r Whitney Houston” on Facebook.

Kelly never denied writing the post, but said he didn’t realize he had put it online. He posted the comment to his personal Facebook page, saying he was tired of hearing media coverage of Houston’s death, and resented the fact that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered flags flown at half-staff for her, the SouthtownStar reported in February.

Kelly was initially just suspended by the baseball league and was banned from coaching for a year, but he later quit the league’s board.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Maudlyne Ihejirika contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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