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Black worker told he looked like he had ‘put his finger in electric socket’


A black man has spoken out about the horrific racist abuse he was subjected to while working in a shop.

Terrelle Graham has shared footage of some of the comments he says were made to him while he worked at Currys PC World in Bristol.

Part of the video shows an employee telling former staff member Terrelle that it looked like he had put his “finger in an electric socket and not left.”

Dixons Carphone – which owns Currys PC World – said that when Mr Graham shared his experience with them, an investigation was carried out and action taken in line with company policies.

BristolLive reports the company said the language and behaviour experienced by Mr Graham are in no way representative of their values as an organisation.



Mr Graham said he was ‘mentally exhausted’ by the comments
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Image:

James Beck/BristolLive)




Sony has said it is aware of the issues raised by Mr Graham and a full review is being conducted, adding it takes any claim of discrimination extremely seriously as they embrace diversity and firmly believe in equality.

Mr Graham said the incidents shown in the video all happened on June 22 this year at Currys PC World in Cribbs Causeway.

He had started to record conversations after getting fed up with the comments he was receiving from two members of staff in the video.

In one clip, a man can be heard saying: “You need to get your hair combed or are you going for the Afro look on purpose?”

Before adding: “Well, I mean, at least straightened. It looks like you basically put your finger in an electric socket and not left.

“Your hair looks frizzy, it is the nicest way I can put it.

“I was just going to say, are you trying to leave it like that or are you planning on going to the hairdressers at some point?”

In another clip, a man is seen asking Mr Graham if he can sing Afroman’s “Can I get High?” [sic] and, when he refuses to, the man replies “so how come you got the Afro today?”.

Mr Graham said he worked as a representative for Sony between October 2019 and September 2021 at both Currys PC World and John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway, having been moved to the latter after raising concerns of racism in the former.



He has shared footage of some of the comments he was subjected to




The former Sony contractor claimed the racial comments involved a handful of different people and continued off camera during the two years he worked for Sony and spanning across the two stores.

The 26-year-old claimed he first raised concerns about what was happening at the Currys PC World store last June, claiming that “nothing substantial” was done except for transferring him to John Lewis.

Mr Graham also claimed someone at John Lewis tried to get him removed by saying he was “angry”, “confrontational” and “intimidating”, before adding these are typical labels given to Black men when they defend themselves.

John Lewis said in a statement: “John Lewis has a zero tolerance approach to racism and we’re really sorry to hear about Terrelle Graham’s experiences. We have started an immediate investigation.”

Mr Graham said what happened had a big impact on him and said he was too mentally exhausted to be around people, ending up becoming more isolated.



He was told he looked like he had put his finger in an electric socket and not left




“I brought it to their attention and they have done nothing about it,” he continued. “It caused such a mental strain on me.

“I would finish work mentally exhausted from having to put up with it.”

Describing it as a “constant cycle”, Mr Graham said he has experienced racism in previous jobs, reflecting the systemic racism in companies.

Mr Graham claimed Sony tried to reassure him during this process, telling him they had his back and also promising mental health support two weeks ago. Something he says has never happened.

He said he was let go last week when recruitment firm Hays terminated his assignment on behalf of Sony after being told they couldn’t find a store for him to work at.







Mr Graham claimed: “It [the alleged racism] started within the first few months of being there and it became more frequent. It ended up being something that would happen multiple times a week. I thought, without evidence, they are not going to care and even with the evidence they do not care.

“I was trying to get some clear evidence to say ‘this is what is going on in your stores’. If I continued to endure the abuse in silence, I’d still have a job.”

Mr Graham said he feels his concerns were not taken seriously enough, with their words not being reflected in their actions.

He continued: “Yet reporting it and going through all the procedures that are supposed to be there to help, like HR, has led to no significant consequences for the employees.

“I should have never been removed from the store – it should’ve been the employees who were sacked and then removed, to improve that work environment so that I’d feel more comfortable working in there.”



Shocking footage shows a man asking Mr Graham to sing a song




A Dixons Carphone spokesperson said: “We do not condone or accept discriminatory behaviour of any kind, and we take our responsibilities as a diverse and inclusive employer extremely seriously.

“The language and behaviour experienced by Mr Graham are in no way representative of our values as an organisation. When he shared his experiences with us, we undertook an investigation with those concerned, and action was taken in line with our company policies with the colleagues involved.

“We’ll continue to work with our colleagues, customers, partners and shareholders to ensure everyone feels included, can be themselves, and be at their best.”



He says that if he continued to endure the abuse he would still have a job
(

Image:

James Beck/BristolLive)




In a statement, Sony UK and Ireland said: “We take any claim of discrimination extremely seriously. We embrace diversity and firmly believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

“We have been made aware of the issues raised by a contractor employed as a store promoter at a retailer site and are conducting a full review.”

A spokesperson for Hays said: “We are aware of the allegations of racism made by a candidate. The allegations of racism do not relate to any activity by Hays.

“We fully support equity, diversity and inclusion and treat allegations of racism with the utmost seriousness.

“At the time of the allegations, we followed the correct processes to protect the candidate’s welfare and worked with the other associated parties to ensure the matter was investigated.”


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