Mainstream media outlets, Twitter, prominent presidential candidates, and even New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio rushed to condemn what Georgia Rep. Erica Thomas (D) claims was an incident of racism at her local Publix grocery store on Friday.
Now it appears the truth is not what she claimed or what the media initially reported.
What’s the background?
Thomas claimed that while she was checking out at the grocery store, a white man berated her for taking too many items into the express checkout lane. She claimed the man told her to “go back where you came from” as her young daughter looked on, the Associated Press reported.
“And this white man comes up to me and says, ‘You lazy son of a b***h,'” Thomas
claimed in a Facebook video. “He says, ‘You lazy son of a b***h; you need to go back where you came from.'”
Thomas did not record the alleged incident, nor did anyone else in the grocery store. However, Thomas still somehow connected it to President Donald Trump.
“There’s so much hate in this world and it’s being incited by our president every single day,” she said in her Facebook video.
What did the man say?
As it turns out, the accused man, Eric Sparkes, completely denies telling Thomas to “go back” where she came from. In fact, Sparkes is a Cuban American himself — and a Democrat.
He did, however, admit to calling Thomas a “b***h,” the AP
What happened next?
On Saturday, as Thomas was prepared to speak to media outside the Publix grocery store where the alleged incident occurred, the man she says “verbally assaulted” her, was already there, ready to share his side of the story.
Cameras rolled as the two got into a heated argument. However, what happened Saturday told a drastically different story than what Thomas claimed. In fact,
WSB-TV’s cameras caught Thomas verbally berating Sparkes, who mostly remained calm.
Thomas later told WSB there are witnesses who are “willing to be a witness in court.” However, no witnesses have come forward.
Police are investigating the incident.
“This woman is playing the victim for political purposes because she is a state legislator,” Sparkes told WSB. “I’m a Democrat and will vote Democrat for the rest of my life, so call me whatever you want to believe. For her political purposes, make it black, white, brown, whatever. It is untrue.”
Then the truth comes out
After the parking lot confrontation, Thomas began to backpedal on her initial claims.
“He said ‘Go back,’ you know, those types of words. I don’t want to say he said, ‘Go back to your country,’ or ‘Go back to where you came from.’ But he was making those types of references is what I remember,” she said.