Dunkin’ Donuts Fires Workers Who Posted a Video of Them Dousing a Homeless Man With Water
Dunkin’ Donuts, which is currently undergoing a major rebrand and is set to drop the Donuts from its name come January, has another public relations crisis on its hands.
An employee at a Syracuse, N.Y. location of the donut chain was captured on video by another employee as he poured a cup of water on a man with his head down in the mostly empty Dunkin’ location, and then laughed at him. Since the video was posted online Sunday, it has racked up over 3.3 million views.
The Syracuse man doused with water, Jeremey Dufresne, was at the donut chain location to charge his phone so that he could call his mother to say goodnight, which he does every night, according to Syracuse.com. Dufresne lives with schizophrenia and is homeless because he prefers to live outside, he told a reporter from Syracuse.com. Dufresne also said other employees at the franchise location have been kind to him in the past, providing him with food and drinks, and asking him not to bother other patrons. He said he does not.
In a statement provided by Kimberly Wolak, the chief operating officer of The Wolak Group, which operates 85 Dunkin’ Donuts franchise locations across Maine, New Hampshire, and New York, she said as franchisees, “we were extremely disturbed by the behavior of our employees captured in the video.”
Wolak added of the incident, “It not only violated our written policies but goes against our core values as an organization, which include creating a welcoming and hospitable environment and treating everyone with dignity and respect. The employees involved in the incident have been terminated, and we will be contacting the individual in the video to apologize for the negative experience.”
A small protest popped up outside the store on Monday, and at least one other individual claims he is trying to help ameliorate Dufresne’s suffering. A GoFundMe page set up with a stated goal of supplying Dufresne and his family with some money for their troubles has raised over $14,000 so far. The goal was set at $150.
Wolak added that the franchise owners intend to work with local advocates to educate employees on how to engage with homeless individuals, including where to direct them in the community for appropriate assistance.