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‘King Kong’ Comment Gets Caribbean-Born Crossing Guard Sacked

Jon Seymour

Jon Seymour (London Evening Standard image)

News Americas, LONDON, England, Weds. April 23, 2014: A Caribbean immigrant who has served as a school crossing guard for the Carlton Primary School in Kentish Town for more than a decade, is out of a job for calling a black member of the Camden Council, “King Kong.”

Jon Seymour was dismissed by the Council with immediate effect after a disciplinary hearing ruled his behavior amounted to gross misconduct, according to the London Evening Standard.

The Camden London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Camden in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in the United Kingdom capital of London.

The verbal abuse reportedly occurred last July after Seymour was speaking loudly on his mobile phone in the Town Hall reception area. A council worker asked him to be quiet but he instead allegedly responded in a “racially abusive and verbally threatening” way.

“All witnesses confirmed Seymour used the words ‘King Kong’ and ‘Monkey.’”
“Whether or not this word is construed to have been racially motivated, it can still be considered verbally abusive and insulting, and breaches the code of conduct,” the Standard quoted the internal report as saying.

Seymour was escorted from the building by two security officers after allegedly responding in a “racially abusive and verbally threatening” way.

Louise McBride, who chaired the hearing, said: “I am satisfied on the basis of the information obtained during the investigation that this complaint is upheld on the basis that your behavior was both physically and verbally aggressive and threatening and that you used insulting language.”

A council spokesman said: “Camden has a code of conduct which sets out how staff is expected to behave towards the public and other members of staff. We can confirm that a member of staff was dismissed from the council for gross misconduct.

“We are unable to comment further at this stage as the dismissal may be subject to an appeal to elected members.”

Seymour for his part has defended the action saying: “My mum is black, I’m black; it’s not being racist. It was nothing to do with his color; no one looks like King Kong. He (the council member) was getting all angry so it was like he was acting like he was a big strong gorilla, so that’s why I called him King Kong.”

He has vowed to appeal the ruling.