Controversies

Wheatsville Co-op executive faces criticism for racially insensitive video

Wheatsville executive faces criticism for racially insensitive video

Big Co-op Fair
Wheatsville Co-op's top executive is being asked to resign after posting a controversial video. Photo courtesy of Wheatsville Food

Editor's note: A precious version of this story stated that Dan Gillotte's video was posted last week. A rep tells CultureMap that it was originally posted several years ago.

The chief executive grocer of Wheatsville Co-op is facing criticism after posting a racially insensitive video on his public YouTube channel. An online petition calling for Dan Gillotte’s immediate resignation — allegedly started by Wheatsville employees and community members — now has more than 100 signatures.

The video featured Gillotte performing a song titled “Condoms Over Combs: White Girl Showing Black Dude Around The Grocery Store.” Although the original was posted several years back and has since been deleted, the petition organizers reposted the video on YouTube on July 23.

On the petition, organizers say their "trust has been broken completely" by Gillotte's song and call for his immediate resignation from the co-op. CultureMap was unable to verify the identity of the members, who state they are keeping all signatures anonymous for fear of retribution.

In response to the furor, the board and Gillotte have released a joint statement saying that the incident is currently under investigation.

“As a co-op, Wheatsville values inclusiveness and celebrates diversity. The co-op board and leadership team is taking this matter very seriously and will continue to keep staff well-being a top priority. Co-op management is committed to being a diverse and inclusive local business and taking steps to deepen that commitment,” said the leadership group.

This isn't the first time Gillotte faced scrutiny since taking over a management position in 1998. In 2015, a group of staff members posted an open letter calling for greater wage equality between management and employees. That letter and resulting petition eventually led to the co-op increasing staffer’s hourly wage and releasing Gillotte’s salary.

Whether the latest incident will bring about any action remains to be seen, but petition organizers are taking the fight offline and into Wheatsville's two Austin locations. On June 26, they are asking store customers to wear gear blazoned with Wheatsville’s heart-shaped logo as an expression of solidarity and inclusiveness.