Embattled Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina got an employee at a Myers Park Gourmet food store fired Sunday for reportedly telling him, "thanks for nothing." The cook says McCrory was giving him a hard time because he is gay.
The Charlotte Observer reported that McCrory was shopping at Reid's Fine Foods on Sunday afternoon when the 45-year-old cook, Drew Swope, who happens to disagree with him politically, asked him if he needed any help. Swope told Talking Points Memo that McCrory was looking for onions.
Once Swope realized who he was talking to however, he reportedly told the governor "thanks for nothing," and walked away.
The cook's comment reportedly upset McCrory who began "yelling" at him, declaring that he was a customer in the store and should not be treated that way. McCrory's communications director Joshua Ellis also contended that that Swope made an obscene gesture to the governor during their conversation and had earlier, in a Facebook post, threatened to physically harm him.
The governor and his security team complained to the food store owner who fired Swope for his conduct.
Swope, who is openly gay, has been firing barbs, however, at the governor since his dismissal. On Tuesday he told Talking Points Memo that he believes that McCrory's reaction was not triggered so much by what he said but by prejudice stemming from his sexual orientation.
"When he started yelling at me, it was a sudden turn because I made sort of a swishy move," said Swope. "I've been discriminated against a lot, and I can see that moment when someone just suddenly goes ballistic because of this other thing, not what you said or did," he noted.
"I don't know what he was thinking, but I'll tell you from man to man: He was hating on me for being a fag," Swope added.
He also downplayed the tone of his role in the dust-up with McCrory.
"It was a whole bunch of nothing, really. I saw a confused person looking for onions and said, 'Can I help you, sir?' And he said no," recalled Swope of his interaction with the governor. "Then I said, 'Oh, Pat McCrory. Thanks for nothing.' Then I walked away. And he started yelling at me and eyes were bulging out of his head. He was just insisting that he shouldn't be treated this way, and all the other workers and butchers were like, 'Why is this man yelling at Drew?'"
Tom Coker, owner of Reid's said he decided to fire Swope because his behavior was unacceptable.
"It's not acceptable in any workplace, especially in the service industry to treat your customers that way," said Coker.
He said when he spoke with the governor and his team and: "The governor couldn't have been more gracious."