swirl of controversy over a Facebook post and its accompanying racially-charged comments have led to an Atlanta man’s job termination. Gerod Roth, who is white, was fired from the Polaris Marketing Group in Atlanta last week after posting a picture with his co-worker’s African-American child to the social media site. Roth’s Facebook friends made insulting and racist remarks to the picture that has since gone viral. “I just really feel upset, not only with myself, but also the character that was based off the comments that my friends had made. Cayden has been victimized but I have been targeted,” Roth said.The post has since been deleted from Facebook. But Sydney Shelton, the mother of 3-year-old Cayden Jenkins, said she was broken-hearted to see people calling her child “Kunta Kinte” and saying they didn’t know Roth was a “slave owner.” Shelton is a single mother and brings Cayden to her job after school. She told FOX 5 she was unaware that Roth took a picture with her son.
Roth claims he didn’t think she would mind.
“People post things in a jokingly manner and it gets taken a completely different way but I don’t believe any of these people were joking,” Shelton said.
Shelton also told FOX 5 News she’s thankful for the #HisNameIsCayden movement that is gaining attention online. She said people from all over the world are reaching out and showing support. Her employer, Polaris Marketing Group, is also accepting gifts for the boy whose birthday is later this month.
“He is not a deaf child. He is not mute. He has never been abandoned. He is a well-loved, fun-loving, hyper-active and typical three-year-old,” Shelton said in response to comments made on the post.
Roth admits to making one remark on the thread.A person said, ‘Oh, you mean to tell me that you just have wild kids running through your office building?’ And that’s when I said ‘he was feral.’ That was interpreted as racist and that, honestly, was not my intention whatsoever.”
Roth also insists he told one of his Facebook friends to stop making racist remarks. But that comment was cropped out of the screen shot, he said.
Roth emailed Shelton an apology.
Shelton told FOX 5 she hasn’t found the words to respond at this time.