Details about the deadly mass shooting at a brewery in Milwaukee have been trickling out in the hours since a former employee killed five people and then died by suicide on Wednesday afternoon. But according to unconfirmed reports, the gunman — a Black man named Anthony Ferrill — waged his shooting rampage because he was subjected to racism in the workplace at the Molson Coors brewery.
Those reports were not immediately verified by law enforcement, but they were prevalent across social media. One of those posts came from an account credited to a Milwaukee businessman who devoted multiple posts on his Facebook page to explain “the reason why our Brother snapped at Miller Coors!”
“The shooter at Millers Coors is reported to suffer racial discrimination and harassment from white co-workers. He recently filed a civil lawsuit against Miller Coors’s racist work environment. The racist white co-workers had hung a hangman noose on his locker. He was rehired after the lawsuit five years ago. The white racist male harassment continue when he returned to work at Miller Coors,” Tony Muhammad wrote without providing evidence of his claims.
“The racist white co-workers this time humiliated the 51-year-old African American male by pasting spade cards on his work locker and making his workday unbearable with white male racist antics.
“The Brother evidently was forced over the edge of sanity to make a violent and act to end Miller Coors workforce racist harassment. Perhaps with this most recent reported incident of workforce white male racism against African American Miller Coors in the City of Milwaukee will make fair and equal employment for all a matter of private and public policy… Miller Coors has a long history of tolerating its white brewery worker racist behavior and acts against Black brewery workers.”
Muhammad’s claims were complemented by similar ones across social media.
A racial discrimination lawsuit against Miller Brewing Company and its parent, MillerCoors LLC was dismissed in 2013 after Syed Alam, a software developer, sued. A previous employment discrimination lawsuit filed by Alam against Miller was settled in 2006, which is apparently why the later racial discrimination case was tossed, according to the State Bar of Wisconsin.
Those lawsuits came after three former employees of Miller Brewing Co. sued in 1994 for claims of employees being “subjected to racist name-calling and harassment” at a plant in New York, the Associated Press reported. At the time, it was “the third legal action against the Milwaukee-based brewer by black employees at the Fulton plant who say they faced discrimination.”
That lawsuit said “black employees were subjected to a variety of forms of racial harassment, including hearing racial slurs directed at them over a paging system and being exposed to a variety of racial epithets in plant graffiti” and that “the company took too long to start using a graffiti-resistant paint and to limit access to the plant’s public address system to prevent harassment.”
Molson Coors is the parent company for a number of beers including Miller Lite, Coors Lite and Molson Canadian.
Again, the reports of the brewery gunman being the victim of workplace racism were unconfirmed. With that said, Milwaukee County in April declared racism a public health crisis in the city that the Brookings Institution in 2018 found to be the most segregated in America.