Rumors circulated about Yasmine James’ firing after she defended herself against Daniel Willis Taylor at the St. Petersburg McDonald’s on New Year’s Eve, and people on social media were enraged, and talking boycotts.
McDonald’s, who is responsible for the inaction by management that night, instead placed her on paid leave, and James hired a Clearwater attorney who also represented the McGlockton family in the Florida stand your ground shooting case.
“I don’t think people took it so seriously,” James, who is 20 years old, told The Grio.
“Just because I am a Black woman and he was a white man that assaulted me. Like, ‘Okay, she fought this man, let’s go back to work. Don’t call the police because this is normal.’ It was just going to go under the rug.”
She not only had to defend herself, but had to call the police herself, too.
James continued, “I didn’t like that feeling. To me, it’s like if I didn’t call the police, if I didn’t do anything, who would have I just felt like I was left alone, on my own.”
Her attorney, Michele Rayner-Goolsby released a statement, which said, in part: “This case is a clear example of how white privilege and male privilege too often leave Black women alone to defend themselves in the face of harm.”
McDonald’s reportedly invited her back to work, but she questions how the company would keep her safe at work. She also said she thought her coworkers, who didn’t come to her defense were probably thinking about their jobs.
“I don’t want to blame everything on my manager, but I wish that he was trained more; like [McDonald’s] should have had better procedures,” she said.
McDonald’s released another statement on Thursday, in part, saying: “We share the community’s concern, and are taking this disturbing incident very seriously…We firmly stand with our employees everywhere, including our employees at this restaurant who were involved in this incident.”
“It’s like scary, anybody can do something to me,’ James said in an interview. “I work so close with the customers, and now that everyone knows and people don’t agree with this they can do anything.”
She added, “I am committed to using this horrible experience as means to fight for justice, not only for myself, but for other women experiencing this kind of violence in environments where they should be safe and protected… this type of violence happens to women, especially Black women, everyday.”
Taylor is still being held on $1,000 bond with two charges of battery, but James doesn’t think that is enough of a punishment.
“He assaulted me He should’ve gotten more than a misdemeanor,” she said. “To me that won’t teach him a lesson at all.”
James, of course, taught Taylor a thing or two about violating the safety of a woman she has been boxing since she was 14, thanks to her mother and older cousin, a professional boxer. The classes were her mother’s way of helping her protect herself.
“It really scared me when he grabbed me,” she said. “I didn’t know if he had a knife, a gun or anything.”
Reader Question: McDonald’s marketing campaign is centered on Blacks. Do you think they will make an effort to adopt serious diversity strategies inside the company in light of this incident that happens to many of their patrons and employees in and outside of work
McDonald’s employee attacked by customer at work hires attorney after being placed on leave