***Warning: This story has graphic content
A 22-year-old Indigenous actor says he is hurt, but he will “speak, fight and be heard,” after he was allegedly a victim of racism at a Red Deer restaurant.
Zach Running Coyote, an actor from Rosebud Alberta, is in Red Deer for the summer performing at Bard on Bower. In a video post on Facebook, the young man explained an alleged racist incident that took place at a McDonalds on 50 Avenue, Friday, when he was allegedly the victim of abuse and asked to leave the premises.
Running Coyote says he made the video to clarify a previous post titled, “I hate you Canada for teaching people to treat me this way.”
In the video, the Running Coyote narrates an alleged exchange between him and another man at the restaurant after they both caught a news story on the McDonalds’ television set. The news story was about charges being dropped against an Alberta rancher in an incident in Okotoks where a man was shot in the arm after trespassing.
The actor states the man – wearing sunglasses and a black cap – alongside his girlfriend agreed with the news story on TV.
The actor, meanwhile, shook his head.
The man then walked by the actor and said “what’s your “f***ing problem? Mind your own f***ing business.” He went on to call him a “f***ing Indian,” and told him “you better f*** off.”
Running Coyote narrates the entire incident in the seven-minute long video on Facebook.
After the heated exchange between the two, the man and his girlfriend were served and they left the restaurant all the while “sneering” at the actor, the video stated.
After they left, the actor went back to his meal and the restaurant manager allegedly asked him to leave, the actor narrated in the video.
“You tried to start a fight in my store, you need to leave,” the manager allegedly told the actor, Running Coyote stated in the video.
“You saw the whole thing – he called me slurs, I stood up for myself, and you’re kicking me out?” Running Coyote said in reply.
“I would’ve kicked him out, too,” the manager said to the actor – according to the video.
But the actor believes that’s not true.
“Because all this happened and he still served the guy, and once that guy was gone, then he told me I had to leave,” said the actor in the video.
The Rosebud native continued to say he was feeling “shitty” and was apologizing profusely, “and still getting told I was looking for a fight.
“It really, really sucks, this isn’t a couple hooligans, this isn’t a teenager, this was a grown man – mid-30s, his girlfriend smirked, and everyone in the store just watched and I got kicked out,” the actor said in the video.
“That is Canada.
“They threatened to call the police on me – so I left.” he stated. “But that’s Canada.”
In an email response, Red Deer McDonald’s Franchise owner Bob Carpenter, said his restaurant is a place for everyone.
“As a McDonald’s franchisee, I pride myself on creating and maintaining a diverse and accepting environment for all my guests and employees,” he said. “Discrimination of any kind, including racist taunts, is simply not tolerated in my restaurants.”
He said whenever violent, aggressive or threatening situations occur, managers are directed to ask the individuals involved to leave the restaurant.
Carpenter said the “situation is disappointing.”
“We have spoken with Zach over the weekend and let him know that he is certainly welcome in my restaurants,” he said.
“I am using this situation to reiterate to all my restaurant managers and crew the importance of maintaining a safe and welcoming environment,” Carpenter said.