Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) accused Rep. Joe Wilson (R- SC) of racism, after – as part of a hearing on a law concerning franchise restaurants – he mentioned that he once worked at a Chick-fil-A.
Rep. Wilson was remarking that fellow Republican, Sen. Tim Scott, started his career at Chick-fil-A, and mentioned that his first job taught him valuable life lessons. At hearing this, an enraged Marcia Fudge interrupted him, yelling, “I have to say this. I am trying to figure out for the life of me what [Sen.] Scott has to do with what we are talking about today. So he worked at Chick-fil-A? So what? I mean did [Wilson] bring it up because he’s black?”
She concluded by saying, “I take great offense to using a U.S. senator, who happens to be my friend, in something so ridiculous.”
And, what prompted such a ferocious outburst? Rep Wilson “[Franchises] provide entry level jobs for people to have first-time employment, improve themselves, and succeed,” stated Wilson. He further added, “In South Carolina we particularly recognize this. Scott had his first job at a Chick-fil-A franchise.”
Later, responding to news of Fudge’s outburst, Sen. Scott’s spokesperson clarified that Wilson’s comments were in no way offensive or hurtful. However, the spokesman also clarified that Sen. Scott had never actually worked at Chick-Fil-A, even though he does credit an employee at the restaurant for mentoring him, and ultimately being a catalyst for change in his life, when he was young and struggling through high school.
“Senator Scott’s life was changed by John Moniz, a Chick Fil-a franchisee who became his mentor, and he is forever grateful for the lessons and values John shared,” the spokesperson clarified. Earlier, Scott himself memorialized John Moniz, saying, “I can honestly say I’m not certain where my life would have led without John, and that he helped make me the man I am today. I am so grateful for his mentorship — as it helped take a kid whose grandfather grew up picking cotton to the U.S. Senate.”
The senator seized the opportunity to pay his gratitude to Moniz, who passed away when Sen. Scott was just 19. He detailed the impact that Moniz had in his life in an op-ed in the Courier and Charleston Post. This especially impactful mentorship relationship also earned Moniz a mention in his victory speech when Scott won his Senate seat in 2012.
Both Wilson and Fudge were debating on the Saving Local Business Act. This initiative will put a stop to the regulations made during Obama’s Presidency pertaining to contractors and franchises accountability in terms of labor violations that take place at large by subcontractors and franchisees.
The recent bill would reverse a regulation by the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which would have destroyed the franchise business model – and potentially destroyed millions of jobs.