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December 11, 2010 / admin

It’s Guess Who All Over Again…


In the movie Guess Who, Simon Green (Ashton Kutcher) quits his high paying job days before going to meet his fiance’s parents, and particulary racist father Percy (Bernie Mac), for the first time in. If you haven’t seen the movie, apparently Ashton’s mentor/boss is racist and doesn’t want him to marry Zoe Saldana (Teresa) because it will affect his work and his ability to do business with big clients. Simon is understandably upset, quits his job with intentions of easily finding another but soon learns he has been ‘blacklisted’.

So Simon stood up for his right to be with Teresa and that was great and all but we never really learn what happens with his employment/money situation. We see Percy figure out the truth and Simon and Teresa settle an overacted/dramatic spat dealing with him not telling her the truth about his unemployment situation.

At the end of the movie the wedding is back on, Teresa’s dad is no longer racist and all seems well…. except there is no mention of whether Simon will take legal action and sue for the racist practices displayed by his boss. There’s also no mention about Simon getting the money he tried to borrow from Percy to invest in an IPO about to go big, which was meant to tie him over while he worked out the blacklist issue. Maybe we are to assume he gets the dough once Percy stops being racist, invests it in the IPO and makes out like a bandit…? That’s a huge leap since none of this is alluded to in the film.

It seems real life is imitating art, but in this instance we get to see the plot hole in the film wrapped up in real world fashion. In this case, not only is a White man standing up for his right to love and marry his Black wife, he’s making sure justice is served by suing his allegedly racist company. 

By Andrea Grimes

In a federal lawsuit filed last month in the Northern District Court of Texas, a Euless man and 10-year employee of Whataburger claims he was wrongfully terminated for marrying an African-American woman. Court documents say Michael Young was warned that Whataburger management was “old school” and that his relationship could get him in trouble with higher-ups. Despite his region’s superior performance to other store “zones,” which Young says he can back up with corporate accounting documents, Young claims he was fired and replaced with less-qualified staff.

“Michael Young is an upstanding guy who worked for Whataburger for a long time and did really well for them,” says Joseph Gillespie, Young’s lawyer. He tells Unfair Park that Young “ran into a glass ceiling” when he started seeing his wife, and was “denied promotions and then terminated.”

From the original complaint:

Clifton Rutledge, the Regional Director, explained to Young what he needed to do to advance his career with Whataburger. Young was told by Rutledge to watch who he was dating. Rutledge, who knew Young was white and that Young was dating an African-American woman told Young that the Dobson family is “old school” and who Young dated or married could negatively impact his career and promotions within the company.

Young did not take his superior’s warning to heart, says Gillespie. “He continued to date who he wanted to date and it turned out badly for him.” Though Gillespie wouldn’t go into detail, he told Unfair Park that Young was earning a six-figure salary for which he’s seeking compensation.

Whataburger just filed a response to Young’s claims on Monday, wherein the company denies his claims of discrimination. We’ve been playing phone tag with Whataburger’s whatapublicists for the past month, and they sent over this statement today:

“While we can’t discuss pending litigation, Whataburger is proud of its diverse family of employees, the positive work environment we have created and the equal opportunities we make available to all of our employees.  We will vigorously defend our reputation should this action go to trial.”

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