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Normally we don't speak out about encounters of racial profiling and age discrimination that we face day to day in our lives as young black entrepreneurs. Although today May 26th 2020 7:51pm we encountered a situation where a man entered the facility, a shared private gym that we utilize in our @wework @mozaic_east office located in uptown Minnesota. Granted we've been in this office space and have rented and grown our business for the past 1 year and half here. As we were working out this man approached and immediately asked us who we were and if "WE BELONG" in this building. Granted in order to enter the building you NEED a key card to enter EVERY part of the building which EACH of our team members individually have. We all pay rent here and this man demanded that we show him our key cards or he will call the cops on us. We are sick and tired of tolerating this type of behavior on a day to day basis and we feel that we had to bring light onto this situation.
In this Instagram video, we see a white man (who looks like the adult son of John Lydon and Martin Short if they were to have a child) in an office building gym taking photos of black men and calling the police because he doesn't think they "belong" there. The man identifies himself as Tom Austin. Complex says Austin was previously in the news for complaining about non-whites:
City Pages reported that Austin, who labels himself the CEO and managing partner of venture capital and private equity firm F2 Group, rallied to not change the name of Lake Calhoun, which was named after noted slave owner John C. Calhoun. It was later renamed Bde Maka Ska, in honor of the region's Native American history. "American Indian activists seem to have hijacked the discussion," Austin said at the time. "What is the heroism or accomplishment that we are recognizing in order to justify renaming the lake to Bde Maka Ska?" He also previously suggested that the "white establishment" needn't "atone" for anything.
Austin told Newsweek in an email that he "f***ed up" and "should have handled it differently," but insisted the incident had nothing to do with race.
"They got in my face in a very threatening manner and I threatened back to call [building] security. I would have done this regardless of race. So this is bullsh**," he said.
Austin also told Bring Me the News that "One of the tenants brought 4 friends and I complained to them that this isn't right and it's unfair to the tenants who pay." However, the Instagram posts from teamtopfigure states, "We all pay rent here and this man demanded that we show him our key cards or he will call the cops on us. We are sick and tired of tolerating this type of behavior on a day to day basis and we feel that we had to bring light onto this situation."