Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cafe Worker Accused Of Calling Souder "Redneck Honkey"

An earlier claim by U.S. Rep. Mark Souder's office that a Capitol Hill cafe worker had been rehired after being fired over a run-in with him over a sandwich mix-up turns out to be untrue. The Hill reports the worker, Kennison Battle, was fired for allegedly calling Souder a "redneck honkey." Instead of being rehired by the cafe, the House offered Battle a job moving furniture, which he turned down because of a disability. The incident has left Battle without a home and near penniless. Betsy Rothstein reports:

A sandwich maker in a Capitol café who was recently fired said that House Administration Committee Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) has told him that he was let go, in part, for calling Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) “a redneck honkey.”

Kennison Battle was fired just days after Souder stomped out in a huff, upset that the employee grilled his sandwich instead of toasting it. Souder has never mentioned the pejorative, and an ITK witness claimed no such name-calling ever occurred at the time of the incident.

Battle also insists he never called Souder any names. “I don’t even talk like that,” he said. Souder, who questioned the sandwich worker’s competence, claimed he did not have anything to do with the firing of Battle and insisted that he did not want him fired. Battle said that David Anderson, manager of Guest Services, which oversees the café, told him the sandwich incident was a “black eye” on the café.

Since the firing, Battle, 41, said he has been forced to move out of his apartment and has been taken in by his brother-in-law. He said he has less than $200 in the bank. “I’m being shot through the mills,” he said.

In a phone interview with ITK late last week, Battle said that he has had two phone conversations with Brady, who has been investigating the matter. He said he was offered a temporary job moving furniture in the House, but turned it down due to back problems.

“I don’t have a response to any racial implication,” said Kyle Anderson, press director for the House Administration Committee. “The chairman is committed to finding something for Mr. Battle that meets his needs, permanent employment with benefits. If [moving furniture] is not consistent with his physical abilities, he is committed to finding something that [is].”

Souder had no comment on the alleged name-calling.

It's very strange that nobody said anything about the name-calling in earlier reports, and that Souder declined comment on it.


Anonymous said...

Is it really that surprising that a GOP congressman wouldn't want to get caught up in any kind of a racial controversy, knowing how the media tends to spin these things?

The Dems are the only ones who ever benefit from inflamed racial sensitivities.

The fact that Souder would keep quiet about it makes perfect sense to me.

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 10:44, your explanation makes absolutely no sense. If the cafe worker called Souder a redneck honkey and he heard him say it, he would have every reason to be upset and complain about the incident. Termination would have been appropriate. There would have been no sympathy for the worker.

Anonymous said...

Let me try again:

Souder is a public official, the cafe worker is not.

Public officials generally don't like to pick nasty, racially-sensitive fights with private citizens, even when the public official is the aggrieved party. Such fights are all risk, no reward...especially if you're a Republican.

What are you suggesting, that Souder and the Democratic leadership have somehow conspired to terminate a lowly Capitol sandwich artist on trumped up racial charges? THAT makes absolutely no sense.

Anonymous said...

I am a white native born Hoosier and I think the term red neck honkey is fairly accurate.

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 3:59, I haven't heard the term redneck honkey tossed around since I was in high school, and it was an all white high school in a small town. I think it's used in a few country songs from the 70s as well.

Anonymous said...

Gary, I, too, went to am all white rural high school in about that same era and it was a term used frequently then. Once again, you are on target.