While shooting footage of an anti-fracking protest for a documentary on climate change entitled, “The Way We Live,” cinematographer Tom Jefferson was the target of an ugly, racist tirade. John Pisone, the employee of a land management company, came to the protest to confront the “lazy hippies” he saw peacefully assembled. Soon his vitriol was turned on Jefferson who quietly kept his camera rolling while being verbally assaulted. Pisone called him a “chimp” and a “f*cking n*gger” and referred to his dreadlocks as a “mop on his head.”
“I felt it was necessary to document what he was doing and what he was saying so that people can see that there are people out there like this,” Jefferson told AJ+. “There’s a whole underbelly of society who thinks this way but aren’t emboldened enough to come out and say it,” Jefferson says. His calm, journalistic approach to the situation is admirable given the ugly insults and dehumanizing language used by Pisone.
After the video surfaced online, Pisone was fired. His employer left this message on Facebook:
“Today, we were disgusted to learn that one of MMC’s former employees used racial slurs and made racially charged comments during a peaceful protest in Mars, Pennsylvania, outside of work hours at a location with which we have no affiliation. We are sorry that this incident occurred. Whether at work or not, we do not condone hate speech – EVER. Inclusion and diversity are among MMC’s core values.”
Pisone apologized to Jefferson during a television interview with WPXI 11 News, calling what he said “stupid” and saying he was “angry,” while still believing himself to be a racist. “I wouldn’t say I’m completely racist,” Pisone says. “I exploded and I went to what I thought would cut the deepest, and that was very stupid of me.” Pisone’s rant started because he was angry with anti-fracking protestors because the industry was bringing jobs to the area. “I went racial on him, him being black,” Pisone said. “I thought this was going to cut deep. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking.”
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar, highly offensive language.