NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - In his first interview since filing a lawsuit claiming he was forced to work in a racially-hostile environment at the Boeing plant in North Charleston, Curtis Anthony voiced concern with the company’s management and also expressed how he felt about a noose that he claims was hung at his desk.
Anthony confirmed Friday that the lawsuit he filed was in connection with the same noose that was reported at the Boeing North Charleston plant back in February.
“My reaction was it took me back,” Anthony said. “I was born in the 60s. I’ve seen a lot in dealing with the noose and people that live on the dark side instead of living on the light side and people that will always use that as a symbol of hatred. It reflected me in a way that it deteriorated me from doing my job. It put me back to when I would see people that would represent the noose. Whether they represented it or not, it just brought back bad memories from my past.”
“It kind of hurt my thought pattern, my lifestyle,” Anthony said. “I used to go home angry, upset, and argue a lot. My wife was always asking ‘why’ and I wouldn’t tell her at first.”
The suit also alleges co-workers urinated on his desk and chair and used the N-word in his presence.
Anthony’s lawyers says he told his supervisors about what was happening, but the harassment continued even after Anthony says he reported the incident to management. Anthony claims the alleged harassment began in 2017, six years after he started with the company in 2011.
“The first incident in the lawsuit, they should have acted on it immediately, but management failed to act on it," Anthony said. "The second incident, which is the noose, I think the only reason they acted on it was because I reported it to everybody from lower level to upper level.”
The lawsuit claims the stress of the harassment got so bad, Anthony had to take a medical leave so he could get counseling. He also says he started drinking again.
“I hope that this shouldn’t be tolerated in America at this day and time,” Anthony said. “This is not 1819, this is 2019. Regardless of color, people should say something against it and anything that’s harmful against anyone.”
Anthony claims he still works in the same building and at the same desk where the noose was reportedly found.
“I don’t think anything has improved,” he said.
Boeing South Carolina spokesperson denied the claims in a statement Thursday.
“The Boeing Company has been named in a lawsuit filed by Curtis Anthony, a current teammate working in Boeing South Carolina Aftbody building. Anthony is alleging race discrimination, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), breach of contract and breach of contract with fraudulent intent.
"While Mr. Anthony is a valued Boeing South Carolina teammate, there is no validity to his allegations. In fact, Mr. Anthony’s requests for FMLA leave have been consistently and repeatedly approved by the company in an expeditious manner.
"Moreover, most of Mr. Anthony’s allegations were never brought to the attention of management, giving the company no opportunity to investigate these claims. The single issue he did raise was dealt with promptly and in a fair manner.”
Boeing says it did fire the employee who they found to be responsible for the noose.