FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — The CEO of a Pennsylvania-based company whose racially charged outburst toward a Fresno bartender went viral has resigned.
Jason Wood, the CEO of Actionable Insights, the man in the video has apologized for his behavior. But, Rebecca Hernandez — the bartender who recorded the video — isn’t accepting it.
Hernandez said it started over Wood’s refusal to wear a mask while inside Out of the Barrel in Fresno’s Fig Garden Village. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the taproom has a policy where customers are required to wear masks while inside the building when ordering or paying for food or drinks.
However, it didn’t escalate until Hernandez and her co-worker cut Wood off. Aside from mocking her, Wood hurled several racially charged, anti-Middle Eastern comments and slurs.
The company released the following statement on their website:
Due to recent events, Actionable Insights is announcing the resignation of Mr. Jason Wood as our Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. This is a direct result of his recent unacceptable actions which are not representative of our core values.
During this time of progressive social change, we are committed to ensure our company embodies a spirit of equality and respect for all people. On behalf of Mr. Wood and Actionable Insights, we extend our deepest apologies. It is our hope that we can move forward, and our reputation for integrity and excellence will navigate us through this difficult time.Actionable Insights
“I stand at five-foot-two, I’m not a large person. When you’re faced with someone being aggressive and hostile toward you — and then being racist — that creates such a very uncomfortable situation where I don’t think anyone would feel safe,” she said.
In a video she posted to her Instagram on Wednesday, Wood is seen saying, “Dark-haired dumb—, sand n—-r.” He also identifies himself and says he’s the CEO of Actionable Insights.
Wood is remorseful over what happened.
“She had every right to cut me off and I’m very sorry. I feel absolutely horrible,” said Wood. “I’m not a racist. I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”
Hernandez doesn’t believe the apology is genuine.
“Jason Wood decided to be a racist after a few beers. I fully believe people are their real selves when they are drinking,” she said.
When he saw the video, Islamic Cultural Center director Reza Nekumanesh said he unfortunately wasn’t surprised — particularly with what exactly was said. He said people need to get rid fo their personal biases for anything to change.
“That way when we are in a situation or an encounter with another fellow human being, we’re not projecting all these ideas we have of a particular peoples on them,” Nekumanesh said. “Then we can start to have a real relationship.”
If there’s any positive to take from this, Hernandez said she knows Fresno’s community has her back.
“I’ve only been here since January and I feel extremely embraced and loved — just as much as I would back home,” she said.
Hernandez asks everyone to respect business’ mask policies, saying it’s not only protecting yourself, but also the workers that are there to serve you.