Atlanta couple now unemployed after video of them accosting Black driver resurfacesAdam Kemmerick restrains Whitney Kemmerick during 2018 confrontation with a Black driver in Kirkwood. Image obtained via Twitter
Atlanta, GA — An Atlanta couple is unemployed after a video of them accosting a Black woman over parking on a public street resurfaced.
The couple, Adam and Whitney Kemmerick, were fired from their jobs this week after the video was posted to a private Kirkwood Facebook group and on Instagram. Adam worked as an attorney at the Law Office of Johnny Phillips and Whitney worked as Marketing Manager for LEGOLAND Discovery Center.
The video was first posted to Twitter in 2018, but failed to gain traction then. It shows the Kemmericks yelling at the woman about parking on a public street. The person filming the video accuses the couple clad in Atlanta United gear of being drunk. The incident occurred in front of a home in Kirkwood. Attempts to reach the person who filmed the video were unsuccessful.
Sagdrina Jalal, a Black homeowner in Kirkwood, said the video shows an interaction that’s more common than people in her neighborhood would like to admit.
“I think that the video is just like so many other videos,” she said. “It really just kind of makes the problems that Black folks in Kirkwood know to be true undeniable by the well-meaning white liberals in our community. That’s how I see the video. It doesn’t surprise me. It’s clearly alcohol-induced. At best the Black residents of this community feel ignored, and at worst we have to protect ourselves from being targets in our own community.”
The Kemmericks released a statement to Decaturish apologizing for the incident.
“We always have considered ourselves to be against racism,” they said. “However, it is not until recently that we have become fully cognizant of our white privilege and how it influences us and those we interact with in so many ways. This altercation could have been handled better by us. We now recognize white privilege shielded us from understanding the impact of what we did and said and the possible ramifications to the other party that could have occurred two years ago. We realize that we only felt comfortable in this confrontation because of the privilege afforded to us by decades of racial disparity and societal ignorance. We will never fully comprehend how that felt to the other party, but just trying to imagine it sickens us.”
Their full statement appears at the end of this article.
A portion of the video, posted to Instagram on June 7, has been viewed more than 660,000 times.
The video starts with Whitney Kemmerick yelling at the woman about being parked in front of her house.
“Get the f&*! out the front of our house,” the Whitney Kemmerick says. “Get the f&*! out the front of our house.”
“This is a public street, and I can be right here,” the woman filming the couple replies.
Eventually, the Whitney Kemmerick asks her partner, Adam, to call the police. Atlanta Police have no reports related to this incident, according to a spokesperson.
“Typical,” the woman filming the video replies.
Whitney Kemmerick gets in the woman’s face.
“Typical. Listen, bitch,” she says. “My f&*!ing best friend …”
The argument continues.
Adam Kemmerick approaches the woman filming the video and says, “I know more Black folks than you do.”
Later on, Whitney Kemmerick says, “Get the f&*! off my sidewalk. Bitch. We were totally down to let you move, and then you pulled this f&*!ing card? You pulled the card? You pulled the card? You pulled the card.”
The woman filming the video says, “You’ve been drinking, huh?”
“F&*! you, bitch,” Whitney Kemmerick says towards the end of the video.
“Your mamma’s a bitch,” the woman filming the video replies.
The consequences for the two were swift once the video started making the rounds.
In a statement to Decaturish, a spokesperson for LEGOLAND Discovery Center said, “On being made aware of the video this past Sunday, we immediately opened an urgent investigation and have spoken with the employee involved as well as reviewed all materials. Our company has zero-tolerance for any form of unacceptable or abusive behavior inside or outside of the workplace. As of today, the employee no longer works with the company and we would like to apologize for any distress this video may have caused. The video does not reflect the opinions or values of Merlin Entertainments.”
Adam Kemmerick’s company released a video on Facebook, saying, “After viewing the video, we were shocked and we took direct and immediate action and Mr. Kemmerick has been fired from his position here at the Law Office of Johnny Phillips. We are truly sorry for anyone who viewed the video that was offended by it.
We do not condone any type of racism to anyone. We are extremely dismayed by this type of behavior. As a result, we have fired Mr. Kemmerick effective immediately.
Posted by Law Office of Johnny Phillips PC on Monday, June 8, 2020
Here is the full statement from Adam and Whitney Kemmerick:
We always have considered ourselves to be against racism. However, it is not until recently that we have become fully cognizant of our white privilege and how it influences us and those we interact with in so many ways. This altercation could have been handled better by us. We now recognize white privilege shielded us from understanding the impact of what we did and said and the possible ramifications to the other party that could have occurred two years ago. We realize that we only felt comfortable in this confrontation because of the privilege afforded to us by decades of racial disparity and societal ignorance. We will never fully comprehend how that felt to the other party, but just trying to imagine it sickens us.
Even those of us who pride ourselves on fighting for racial equality and believe ourselves to be enlightened on these issues are not immune to the unconscious biases we all have. It is important for us to recognize these biases and confront them internally. We have a diverse group of close friends from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and it is not lost on us that these friends have been the most supportive of us over the past few days. We are so very thankful for them. However, we understand these relationships do not make us immune to white privilege and unconscious ignorance.
Please accept our heartfelt apology. We are absolutely heartbroken about this whole situation. We support Black Lives Matter and want to be a part of a society where all people are treated equally. We do not have hate in our hearts, and as we attempt to rebuild our lives, we endeavor to be more conscious of our words, actions and how they impact others.
-Adam and Whitney Kemmerick
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