A video taken on April 21 at a Lethbridge Denny’s that depicts a racially charged verbal altercation between a woman and at least three other men went viral today. The woman in the video was later identified as Kelly Pocha of Cranbrook.
The video, recorded and posted by Monir Omerai, one of the men in the video, begins with Pocha saying “Shut your (expletive) mouth then. ‘Cause you know what? You’re dealing with a Canadian woman now and I will leap across this table and punch you right in the (expletive) mouth.”
Pocha repeatedly tells the men to “go back to your country,” “we don’t need you here,” “no, you are not Canadian,” and “speak English if you’re going to speak, speak English, it’s Canada. You don’t raise your nationalism here, speak English or don’t speak at all.”
Pocha gave an interview to Lethbridge News Now in which she said that the video does not depict the whole story, that Omerai only started recording when she was irritated and that she believed that the men at the table “were making fun of her.” She admitted that her comments were racist and said “It is what it is … but I do apologise for what I said, cause a lot of it is not me. I don’t normally say things like that.”
The video drew condemnation from both Lethbridge mayor Chris Spearman and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley on their social media accounts.
Racist, bigoted comments have no place in Alberta.
Our government is always working to foster acceptance and better understanding of our differences.
By working together, we can make life better for all.
Everyone is welcome in Alberta.#ableg #abpoli https://t.co/ogyXFnZ7fM
— Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) May 9, 2018
There is a post on Facebook featuring a racist incident which occurred in our city.I am embarrassed to learn that this incident happened in Lethbridge. We are working hard to address racism and bigotry but can not prevent ignorance and the hostile behaviour of individuals. #yql
— Chris Spearman (@Spearmac) May 9, 2018
The original video has been viewed over 210,000 times, and shared at least 5,435 times at the time of writing. Numerous people commented, posting Pocha’s LinkedIn page, identifying her as an employee of Cranbrook Dodge. Comments were made on Dodge’s Facebook page that they feel as though she should be fired.
Her name and profile no longer appears on the company website. Their social media channels went down temporarily and they have now been reactivated with a statement that reads as follows:
“We have recently become aware of a disturbing video that involves one of our employees. We are deeply concerned about the content of this video and want all of our friends, families, colleagues, and customers to know that this behaviour does not reflect the values of Cranbrook Dodge in any way. We strive to be a welcoming and inclusive company with no room for hate or intolerance.
The employee in question has been terminated and we deeply apologize for her actions.
Sincerely, Dave Girling and the Cranbrook Dodge Team”