Jennifer Boyle was filmed going on an angry verbal tirade in November 2016 at a Michaels store in Chicago. Boyle recently broke her silence, and insisted that she is not a racist despite some of her language (video below).
In the original viral video, the 29-year-old woman said she was being discriminated against by black employees, shouted insults, and bragged about the victory of President-elect Donald Trump -- there was also an issue of Boyle having to purchase a reusable bag.
"[An employee] told me that, even though I voted for Trump, I needed to understand that everyone was human," Boyle told WMAQ. "And because of those two things, I had to leave the store. I was no longer welcome there."
Boyle also verbally attacked Jessica Grady, who filmed the incident. Boyle told Grady (a stranger) that her child was stealing, and her husband was cheating.
"Looking at it now, I think [leaving the store] would have been the right thing to do," Boyle. "I really believe that it was fight or flight kicked in and I felt that I needed to defend myself. That this wasn’t about race, this was not about political views, this was about very poor customer service."
Boyle called one of the black employees an "animal" during her tirade, but told the news station: "There’s not one bone in my body that is racist or homophobic."
After the video went viral with over 4 million views, Boyle's home address and phone number were published online, and she was harassed to the point of death threats.
Some vandals wrote this message outside her apartment: "Make racists afraid again," but Boyle has not backed down.
"I believe that I stood up for myself," Boyle insisted. "Again, everybody is a work in progress. We’re all human, and I really believe that being above reproach is the way to be from now on."
Boyle has not apologized to the Michaels employees or a Peet's Coffee employee whom she called a "bi***" several times; that incident was also filmed by a witness.
Witnesses to the incident at Michaels have consistently sided with the employees, and praised their professionalism.
Michaels said in a statement that it does not "tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind against our team members or customers," and added: "We regret that our customers and team members were affected by this unfortunate incident and are grateful for the leadership of our store team in working to resolve it without further escalation."
Grady, who filmed Boyle's rant and was also the object of her wrath, started a GoFundMe page for one of the Michaels employees with a goal of raising $400, but online donors chipped in over $32,000:
All proceeds from this gofundme will be given to this employee, who has three children, to try to make her busy holiday season brighter. In the current climate I believe it’s very important that we go out of our way to treat each other with dignity, kindness and politeness, and that we stand up for each other when we see people being mistreated.