A man lost his job and reputation after a black mountain climber accused him of making racist comments in a bar. The climber, Manoah Ainuu, posted allegations on Instagram that Johnathan Talbot approached him in a bar in Montana and asked him about diversity in the climbing and adventure field, but said it became clear throughout the conservation that Mr. Talbot was a “racist.”
Ainuu called on Talbot’s employers to fire him saying, “I hope there are repercussions … ideally an extermination,” after accusing him of “gaslighting, toxic masculinity, and white guilt.” The posts tagged Talbot’s employer Outdoor Research and called on followers to pressure the company to end Talbot’s employment.
Mr. Ainuu is sponsored by adventure giant The North Face, whose Global Senior Athlete Coordinator Dave Burleson joined in the online firing campaign.
Talbot insists the allegations against him are false and says an investigation by his employer came to the same conclusion. “I want to make it unequivocally clear that I neither engaged in offensive behavior nor made racially biased comments,” he said. Mr. Talbot has lost his job but said Outdoor Research fired him not because he was guilty of the allegations, but to protect their reputation. He has now filed a lawsuit against Mr. Ainuu.
Acting for Talbot, America First Legal said their client was a victim of a smear campaign and claimed that Ainuu subsequently admitted that Talbot had not made any racial comments. Senior adviser Ian Prior said that a fateful moment in a bar in Montana ruined his client’s career opportunities, and this was endorsed by The North Face, whose commitment to social justice “seems to lack an appreciation for either what is appropriate social behavior and what is justice.”
Law firm America First Legal says it is dedicated to opposing a “radical left anti-jobs, anti-freedom, anti-faith, anti-borders, anti-police, and anti-American crusade,” and has sued several companies for adopting what it believes are unconstitutional procedures in the guise of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies.