New York Man Apologizes After Viral Video Of Him Berating Black Lyft Driver Leaves Him Unemployed
Unemployment gives you time to think.
October 16, 2018 at 2:20 pm
A New York man is jobless and apologetic after a video of him berating a Black Lyft driver went viral.
It all started when Robert Ortiz got upset because driver Shaun Lettman wouldn’t change the music. Ortiz went on a 16-minute tirade filled with threats, racial slurs and even a 911 call.
“Tell me why I'm in a Lyft and the n****r pulled over. The n****r's recording me,” he said to a friend over the phone.
Ortiz also said he is “a legal citizen that voted for Trump” and expressed disdain for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“All that Black Lives Matter is bulls**t. I bet you if I was Black — and Black Lives Matter he would have put the music on. F**k Black Lives Matter — every life matters … all I asked for was music,” he shouted.
He also accused Lettman of profiling him because he’s gay and Puerto Rican. The driver sat silent for the tirade with the exception of his reminder to Ortiz that a sign in his vehicle states his rides are recorded on video camera.
"It's either, I'm going to endure 16-minutes plus of this assault, and I can suck it up and go home, or I can respond the way he wanted me to, and I'll probably be in jail for two to three years for assault,” Lettman said to PIX11.
Lettman’s Lyft driver account was suspended for two days while the company investigated, resulting in lost wages. He started a GoFundMe campaign to help with his bills. The page has received over $45K in donations, more than double its $20K goal.
Lettman posted the video online on October 2, and it went viral. Ortiz was fired from his job at CityMD, an urgent care company.
“CityMD exists to build healthier and kinder communities. This behavior does not represent the values of our team or the values we hold dear,” the company wrote on Facebook.
“This individual is no longer affiliated with CityMD.”
He was also banned from Lyft for life. He told PIX11 he regrets his behavior.
“At the end of the day, my actions were unjustifiable. There's nothing I can say behind that to say, 'but this.' No. I was drinking. A lot of the stuff I said, I didn't even remember until the next day,” he said.
Ortiz claims he isn’t racist because he “grew up in the projects” and still believes Lettman is the bigot.
"I'm Puerto Rican," said Ortiz. "I'm from the Bronx. I'm gay. Like, we know discrimination. You just smell it in the air. You know when someone is uncomfortable around you."
Lettman doesn’t have any hard feelings toward Ortiz.
"Even though I should be the victim in this situation, I didn't find it very amusing that he lost his job," he said.
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