ESTES PARK, Colo. -- Three women who spent the weekend exploring the Rocky Mountains say they were racially profiled by an Estes Park shop owner and caught part of the exchange on cell phone video. [Warning: this video includes explicit language]
Jasmine Patel, 23, said they had just bought T-shirts at the Estes Park Sweatshirt Center located on West Elkhorn Avenue, when her friend overheard the store owner make a racist comment about her and her cousin who are both Indian.
"The store owner said to a white couple 'I don't trust those two,' and he was looking at the camera, and me and my cousin were both on the camera," said Patel.
Once Patel's friend told her what the owner said, she says they made the decision to go back inside and return the shirts they had just purchased, which is what lead to this viral rant they posted on Facebook.
"The guy starts getting really aggressive," said Patel."This guy was saying 'I know your kind. You just leave your sh** here and everywhere and, you don't care about other people.'"
In the video, you can hear store owner, Jim Haber, tell the women several times to "shut the f*** up."
At one point, he also can be heard saying, "I don't give a f*** what you think, and if you say another word I'm going to cut this [credit card] in half."
Haber goes on to say, "I'm going to tell you something for the future, this is the future. You can never think that everything that you think matters is OK."
Denver7 talked to Haber by phone. When asked about Patel's video, he said he failed.
"I'm supposed to be the adult here. Obviously, it was a fail," Haber told Denver7 by phone.
He also clarified what he said and claims he wasn't being racist.
"What 'these people,' what that refers to, that is my sense of what I hate about privilege," he said. "I don't like that, and they smelled of it. They were just in my face, goading and goading."
Haber said the video doesn't tell the whole story. For Patel, she said it speaks volumes.
"It was just a really, really bitter feeling to be talked to like that. I've never been talked to like that," she said.
Haber also responded to critics on Facebook by posting this response. The following is the entire unedited response posted to Facebook:
To the Girls, I am the person in the video. For the record may I start by first saying, Don't judge a person by the best or the worst thing they have ever done, however, if you feel the need and think you have the moral privilege to Judge me harshly today by my behavior yesterday, ask yourself, why would anyone act that way, OR......"react' that way? What can we know from a partial video?
The word "Racist", is thrown around today in a meaningless way, and to some it just rolls off the tongue as an accusation or a label,, but to me..... to me, it hurts me enough, that when I was called a racist by you yesterday, I completely lost ALL sense of composure and self, complete with all the language and as deeply hostile and mean as I could be.
My whole life I have stood up for what I perceive as the underdog, defending what I believe to be righteous, and despising the slightest hint of "priviledge'. Snobbery, or even worse, the holier than thous. These girls attitude towards me from the very beginning was of pure snobbery at its very slimest and despicable. I did not hurt their sense of racial pride, I pissed off three daughters of priviledge. You add me into the mix in a foul mood? I can be formidable. regardless, It was a four way FAIL... we ALL failed. I know I did not have to react that way, I know in my heart that THIS was my fail, but worse, I stepped over the line with the girl named Brenda from Washington DC and called her a name beneath the dignity of myself or her, and I knew it was a mistake the moment it slipped out of my mouth. Even as I was kicking all three out, my sense of respect for all people, including her, kicked in and I said I was sorry from the bottom of my heart for using that word. I meant it, that was my mistake and if she accepts it, thats fine, or if not, thats ok too. I thought I REALLY did'nt care what people think. but you know what? turns out I do because it immediately became apparent to me that people should not make other people feel like I made these three felt, or how they made ME feel... I was throwing it back in their faces, feeling backed into a corner. It does not matter, its not on the video and I was the adult. FAIL.
. So, sorry once more to Brenda from Washington DC .The other two? I just can't care as they came in LOOKING for a fight. and for the record, my normal policy for returns is not 'f you'. But with me, you get the mirror image of what you are putting out. they got their refund btw. Of course they would.
. Lets put this racist accusation through the BS filter.. When I said "YOU PEOPLE", I meant from the very darkest places of my soul, those scumbags of priviledge, these types who think they matter above all else. Thats where my racist tendencies lay . I hate those types who do not understand or appreciate what work actually is, or what empathy means, but I found that I hate it more when I don't live up to my own expectations. My mother raised me better than how I acted. But...
No one walks into my place, my life, and calls me a racist. Not with what I experianced as child.
So... girls , I hope you understand that its true, in the big picture, what you feel is only what YOU feel, and what we say can hurt, but Its best to believe in our hearts that people are generally good and decent, and flawed. Maybe we can all take something home from this? I have. Good luck to the three of you. Lets try to treat each other with dignity and respect next time, like all people deserve, and I promise I won't let my personal life effect me/you in public, like it did. Word.