After applying for a customer service job at Mantality, a clinic that performs testosterone replacement therapy for men, St. Louis resident Hermeisha Robinson, of Bellefontaine Neighbors, received an email from the company that said they “do not consider candidates that have suggestive ‘ghetto’ names.” The email included a signature from Jordan Kimler, a registered nurse practitioner employed by Mantality.
Understandably distraught, Robinson took to Facebook shortly thereafter to post a screenshot of the email she took on her iPhone, and to encourage people to share her post in order to showcase the discrimination that people of color face on a daily basis. Towards the end of her post, Robinson says, “MY FEELINGS ARE VERY HURT AND THEY EVEN GOT ME SECOND GUESSING MY NAME TRYING TO FIGURE OUT IF MY NAME IS REALLY THAT ‘GHETTO.'”
Robinson’s reaction to the situation seems fitting and justified; after all, it’s 2018 and companies should know better than to make bigoted, intolerant decisions based on race. In this case, however, it seems there is more than meets the eye. Mantality’s owner, Kevin Meuret, told the Post-Dispatch that his company’s email was hacked from outside the state, likely by a former employee impersonating Kimler.
“I’m a father of three daughters, and that young lady getting that (response) is horrible. That young lady opened something that must have felt like a freight train, and that’s unacceptable,” Meuret said.
Since Robinson applied to the position via the employment website indeed.com, Mantality has filed reports with Chesterfield police and St. Louis County’s cybercrimes division and is currently waiting to get the IP address of the perpetrator so he or she can be tracked down.
“We will continue to pursue this even if it becomes a federal matter,” Meuret added.
Robinson’s cousin, Miltina Burnett, owner of special events company Bell Lavish Decorations, also made a Facebook posting including the rude email, which elicited a message response from Jack Gamache, clinical director of Mantality’s St. Louis locations. Gamache reiterated the claim that Mantality had been hacked “with email and phones.”
Burnett told the Post-Dispatch that Robinson has been floored by all the responses that both of their posts have received online. “A lot of people are contacting her, with responses good and bad. Some saying her name is ghetto. It has taken a lot of different directions,” said Robinson.
“It made her cry and question her name, whether she should change her name to fit in corporate America. Her mom passed away a while back and gave her that special name,” Burnett said. Hermeisha Robinson was named after her father, Herman, who died when she was a little girl. “Her mom loved that name. She is not going to change it.”
Fellow St. Louisan RoRo Nelson also shared a Facebook post showing that she received a similar email to Robinson’s, calling her name suggestive and “ghetto,” as did Milwaukee native Quinntellia Fields. “2018 and times STILL haven’t changed,” wrote Fields in her post. It’s estimated that as many as 20 candidates received emails from the alleged hacker.
I applied for a Job with Mantality Health Medical Clinic and later received this email. 2018 and times STILL haven’t changed. SMH Please share everyone!!! FOX6 News Milwaukee #share #comment #likePosted by Quinntellia Fields on Monday, August 13, 2018
Overall, the situation is messy and quite sickening when you think about the motivation behind the person who sent the emails. The real Jordan Kimler would have to be incredibly ignorant to send those emails to her applicants, so assuming it really was a hacker and former employee stealing her identity, it’s likely the person was trying to make Mantality look bad and full of prejudice. But why did they have to target these women with a statement that undermines their identities, shakes their confidence, and makes them question their self-worth? It’s a form of racially charged emotional abuse, and reading their posts, it’s plain to see the effect it’s had on the victims. All that being said, it seems like Mantality should really take additional precautions to make sure hackers, former employees, or anyone outside the company can access their technology, because such vulnerabilities clearly lead to catastrophe. What do you think?