This is the viral moment a black business owner in Iowa is kicked out of his office by his white landlord because he was spotted participating in peaceful BLM protests.
The incident took place at the offices of Stylent, a sports brand based in the city of Des Moines in Iowa, the United States, after one of the company’s owners, Jeremiah Johnson, was reportedly spotted at a peaceful protest by his white landlord.
In the video, which has gone viral with over 2.8 million views, Johnson, dressed in blue can be seen speaking to the landlord.
The business owner says he was “protesting in the right way” and the landlord responds: “I will just tell you flat out if there’s something illegal going on at a place that I’m at, I don’t want to be a part of it. I’m personally going to leave.”
Johnson says the landlord kicked him and his business out of the office because he saw photos of them during protests in Des Moines.
He can be seen saying that he would have left as some of the protests turned violent and Johnson posted the video to social media with the caption: “We got kicked out from our business office space by our landlord cuz he saw us on the news peacefully protesting.
“Violating our 1st amendment rights and the lease. Please share this video! When other people protest for haircuts, it’s great! But when I protest peaceful it’s bad!! (sic)”
Speaking to Newsflash, Johnson confirmed their lease, which had been due to run until August had been cut short by the landlord.
He said he “of course” thinks the landlord’s decision “was racially motivated,” saying: “I don’t think I was going to be kicked out if I was a white kid protesting on the news yelling ‘we need haircuts now,’ he probably will think that’s okay.”
Johnson explained to Newsflash: “We had an incident previously with him because he assumed we were coming to our office not following the COVID-19 guideline when we clearly have a Stylent COVID-19 guideline in our office that everyone uses when they come in.
“He told us not to come to the office until the virus slows down but he still wanted us to pay rent, light bill, and internet bill while we weren’t allowed to come in the office to work. Which was crazy because how are we supposed to pay you when we aren’t allowed to come in and work.
“He always had problems with us bringing investors and models in to look at our new office space. He was just sneakily bullying us. We rented the spot from him but we felt like he was limiting us to a lot.”
Johnson later posted a screenshot of an e-mail from the landlord saying “we live in a day an age where people demand rights who have never earned anything or done anything to deserve them… let alone respect them. (sic)”
Johnson told Newsflash his business are planning to “take all the legal actions” possible to seek justice “because we put a lot of money and time into our brand to just watch it fall because of someone that thinks his business value will decrease because I’m practising my 1st-amendment right”.
He said they were “very shocked” when they were told to leave, saying that the landlord had told them it was because he did not want his own business to “decrease in value” if other clients saw Johnson and his partners on the news at the protest.
The business owner added: “We do believe we have been treated unfairly because we are young black men trying to better ourselves and our community doing what we love to do.”
He said he would continue to peacefully protest, saying he does not “tear anyone down” but “builds for my community and family”.
The case is ongoing.
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