By Steve Harrison

After Comment To North Carolina Governor, Food Store Cook Is Fired

February 18, 2014 3:01 pm Category: McClatchy Tribune News Service, National News 1 Comment A+ / A-
After Comment To North Carolina Governor, Food Store Cook Is Fired

By Steve Harrison, The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An employee at a gourmet food store was fired after North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s security detail complained Sunday about a comment the worker made to the governor.

On Sunday afternoon, McCrory was shopping at Reid’s Fine Foods when Drew Swope, a 45-year-old cook, said he asked if he could help McCrory.

After realizing he was speaking with the governor, whom he disagrees with politically, Swope said he told McCrory, “Thanks for nothing,” and walked away.

Swope said the governor was upset at his comment and began “yelling” at him. He said McCrory said he was a customer and shouldn’t be treated that way.

He said the governor and his security team complained to the food store owner, who then fired him.

Swope said he doesn’t blame Reid’s for letting him go, saying, “I did speak out of turn.”

But he added he thought it was “shocking” that the governor “had me excluded from the workplace because I upset his feelings.”

“I don’t make a lot of money,” Swope said. “Life is hard. Everyone needs to work.”

The governor’s office initially declined to comment on the story. On Monday night, McCrory’s communications director Joshua Ellis told The Charlotte Observer that Swope had also made an obscene gesture to the governor during the conversation.

Swope denied that earlier Monday. “I wasn’t raised that way,” he said.

Ellis also said McCrory didn’t yell at Swope or ask or suggest that he be fired.

And Ellis said that Swope has said “things about physically harming the governor as well.”

He said he was referring to a January Facebook page about a planned protest for a McCrory visit to Statesville in February. On the page, some commenters said that they should burn an effigy of the governor. One commenter wrote they could “kick (the effigy) around,” to which Swope replied, “square in the” (groin).

Swope could not immediately be reached for reaction to the effigy comment.

Reid’s owner, Tom Coker, wasn’t in the store during the incident. Coker said his decision to fire Swope had “nothing to do” with McCrory’s position as governor.

“The governor couldn’t have been more gracious,” Coker said about a conversation he said he had with McCrory and his security team about the encounter. “It was an inappropriate comment to a customer.”

He added: “It’s not acceptable in any workplace, especially in the service industry to treat your customers that way.”

Coker said he was pulling into the restaurant parking lot Sunday afternoon when he was approached by McCrory and his security team. He said the group had been told that he was the owner by a parking lot attendant.

“His security guy told me what happened,” Coker said.

McCrory, a Republican and former Charlotte mayor, has bristled at how he has been portrayed during his first term as governor.

Last year, at attorney Bill Diehl’s 69th birthday party at the Fillmore at the N.C. Music Factory, McCrory was booed. He also heard boos at a concert last summer at the Bechtler Museum when he was introduced.

Photo: James Willamor via Flickr

After Comment To North Carolina Governor, Food Store Cook Is Fired Reviewed by on . By Steve Harrison, The Charlotte Observer CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An employee at a gourmet food store was fired after North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory's security By Steve Harrison, The Charlotte Observer CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An employee at a gourmet food store was fired after North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory's security Rating: 0

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  • Sand_Cat

    McCrory deserves the boos. What a typical prig who shafts people and expects them to smile and thank him for it.
    The crap about the effigy is ridiculous; clearly the talk was what to do to it, and the suggestion by the governor’s lackey that it was otherwise is a typical GOP lie, particularly ironic in light of what their party has done to effigies of Obama and their suggestions about what should be done to him, not just his effigies.
    Hard to blame the owner for firing Swope if the description of his actions is accurate, though.

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