A white man followed a Black man all the way to his house in his work truck just to tell him “what a n***er you are.”
Charles Lovett, the subject of the harassment, caught the three-and-a-half minute exchange on video.
“I just want to let you know what a n***er you are,” says the man, a contractor. His name is not given in the video but multiple news outlets identified him as Jeffrey Whitman from Columbus, Ohio. Whitman owns Uriah’s Heating Cooling and Refrigeration.
Whitman remains seated in his truck, parked at the edge of Lovett’s driveway, for the duration of the exchange. The truck clearly displays his business name and phone number.
Warning: Video contains offensive language.
Lovett asks to clarify: “You wanna let me know how much of a n***er I am”
“Yeah, I want to let you personally know how much of a n***er you are,” Whitman responds.
“And so I’m a n***er because” Lovett asks.
“It’s because you’re rude. You’re a rude n***er,” Whitman says.
The men engage in a dispute about traffic. Whitman believes Lovett cut him off while driving, but Lovett says Whitman wasn’t following the signs correctly.
“You cut me off because you feel entitled. You feel entitled because you get everything for free,” Whitman says.
“You feel entitled because I’m Black,” Lovett answers. “I work for everything I got.”
“You see that car right there I paid for that,” Lovett says.
“You did” Whitman asks. He almost looks amused.
“I work 40 hours every week,” Lovett says.
“Every week” asks Whitman.
“Yes. So, thank you for calling me a n***er and showing me how stupid you are,” Lovett says.
“I wanted you to know personally what you do to people,” Whitman says. He then tells Lovett he doesn’t live in “the real world” but rather in “the rude world.”
“I’m glad I’m able to tell you this, too, face-to-face,” Whitman says.
“Enjoy your life, ’cause you’re pathetic.”
In a subsequent interview with NBC4, Whitman said he did not follow Lovett home but was apparently heading in that direction anyway. He told the news station he did not regret calling Lovett the N-word.
“I don’t know if it makes it right or wrong all I can say is I grew up with it and not a big deal for me,” he said.
At this time, Whitman’s name had not been publicized. He eventually changed his tune, providing a statement of apology to ABC 6. It reads, in part:
Using the word was dehumanizing, unacceptable, and inexcusable. My actions reflect an unhealthy mindset I have developed and I need to work to change. … I also understand that racial tensions in America are higher than before, and I regret my part in contributing to that tension. I realize that words are hollow without action, and because of the hurt I have caused, I hope I have the opportunity to give back to the Black community that I have harmed in a meaningful way.
The New York Post reported that Whitman’s business started getting bashed online after the incident. A search for the company leads to a Facebook page that appears to be inactive at this time.
According to NBC4, a police report was made but there are no charges pending at this time.
The incident came as a shock, Lovett told NBC4 but given recent events, not too much of one.
“I never would have expected it to happen to me, but the world we live in nowadays,” he told the news outlet.