After a butcher at West Village institution Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market allegedly handed black delivery man Victor Sheppard a noose in April, Sheppard is now telling the Daily News that he has been “too traumatized” to return to his job at Mosner Family Brands.
In response, employer Michael Mosner said that Sheppard could have applied for disability, received free counseling, and taken on a different route, but Sheppard’s attorney said, “Victor could not return to that environment. His employer knew exactly what happened and was supportive but they never stopped doing business with Ottomanelli.” After Sheppard reportedly did not show up to work two times, Mosner let Sheppard go.
When butcher Joe Ottomanelli reportedly handed Sheppard a noose back in April, he allegedly said, “If you ever have any stress, just put it around your neck and pull it. I could even help you with it.” Ottomanelli did not deny the incident, but called it a joke. He has been charged with a hate crime and will appear in court on September 19.
Ottomanelli’s lawyer was quick to respond, telling the News, “There’s no reason for this man to quit his job besides the reason that suing is easier than working.”
Hate crimes involving nooses have been on the rise, with the Times reporting today that there has been “a series of reports this year involving nooses — especially in the nation’s capital — that point to the return of the hangman’s rope as a potent expression of racial animus.”
Xi’an Famous Foods was also recently involved in another racially charged incident against two black employees who were subjected to racial slurs on video.