General Motors Offers $25,000 Reward To Capture Those Behind Racist Graffiti, Hanging Nooses At Plant

A General Motors plant in Toledo faced accusations of racial discrimination two years ago after Black employees found nooses hanging on plant grounds, as well as graffiti that read "Whites Only" in restrooms.
Breanna Edwards Feb, 12, 2019

General Motors is giving a $25,000 reward for information about the racist graffiti and nooses that were discovered at a plant in Toledo, Ohio, about to years ago.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the reward, which was put up in January, comes after nine Black workers filed a lawsuit against the company alleging racial discrimination and failure to take action after they reported the racist acts that were taking place at the GM Powertrain and Fabrications plant in Toledo.

The lawsuit was filed in September, but the racial aggressions started taking place in the spring of 2017.

One factory worker, Mark Edwards, a 59-year-old Black man found a noose hanging by his work station in March 2017. Edwards also said that he was subject to harassment and racial slurs for years to his coworkers, reporting each incident to his union reps and managers, although he says nothing was ever done. The noose was his breaking point.

In April and May 2017, two more nooses were found hanging in the plant’s assembly room, according to the original Detroit Press report.

By June 2017, the aggressions had escalated, and a white employee allegedly threw a rope that resembled a noose at a Black employee. That white employee was merely suspended for 30 days “under the horseplay rule,” according to the lawsuit.

And that was just part of what Black employees allegedly endured at the plant.

Swastikas were allegedly painted and scratched on restroom stalls, a “white’s only” sign was allegedly hung on restroom stall doors, as well as written on walls outside the men’s bathroom. Additionally, workers allegedly wore shirts under their coveralls with noticeable Nazi symbols on them and stick figures with nooses drawn around their neck.

Black employees were also threatened, allegedly told to be careful because a white employee’s “daddy was in the Ku Klux Klan.”

And to top it all off, a white supervisor allegedly stated in a meeting, “What’s the big deal about nooses? There was never a Black person who was lynched that didn’t deserve it.” That supervisor was reportedly never disciplined.

GM released a statement reiterating it’s “zero tolerance for discrimination.”

“We’re doing everything we can to identify the culprit. This is another step we’ve taken, working with police to intensify the investigation,” GM said. “We’re outraged that anyone would face threats, and our hearts go out to anyone affected by this bigotry.

An attorney representing the nine Black employees acknowledged that the reward offer was “better late than never.”

“Hopefully it will get some results so that this doesn’t happen again and people learn this is unacceptable behavior,” attorney Lynn Shecter said.