4 Idaho employees wear blackface to work as part of costume

November 2, 2017

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — The president and CEO of an Idaho credit union apologized after four female employees wore blackface to work as part of their Halloween costume.

The women wore yellow stocking caps and green, yellow and black windbreakers, and what appeared to be black wigs. They posed alongside a cardboard bobsled with the word “Jamaica” on it in a picture taken on the Potlatch No. 1 Federal Credit Union premises that circulated widely on social media.

President and CEO Chris Loseth said in a statement published Wednesday on the credit union’s primary Facebook page the women were portraying the first Jamaican national bobsled team, which became famous during the 1988 Winter Olympics and inspired the 1993 film “Cool Runnings.”

″(Potlatch No. 1 Federal Credit Union) offers our apologies to those who were offended by the actions of these employees,” Loseth wrote. “The need for cultural sensitivity among all Americans is well recognized and we will be reinforcing cultural diversity training with our entire staff.”

Loseth said the employees involved have been reprimanded, the Lewiston Tribune reported .

“The four female employees are shocked and saddened by the results of their depiction of this famous group of Jamaican athletes and meant no harm or disrespect to anyone,” he wrote.

Loseth’s response did not specify where the incident happened, how much interaction the employees had with customers when they were in blackface and whether a supervisor asked them to leave work to remove the makeup.

The Idaho Statesman reported the incident occurred at the credit union’s Post Falls branch. The credit union has 10 branches in north central and northern Idaho as well as others in southeastern Washington.


Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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