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Government, Politics & Issues

St. Louis company fires woman caught on viral video blocking black man from his downtown loft

This screen grab from the viral video shows the woman who tried to stop her neighbor from entering the apartment building where they both live on Oct. 12, 2018.
D'Arreion Toles via Facebook

Updated at 1:30 p.m. to include the name of the woman and her response.

The woman seen by millions attempting to block a black man from entering the apartment building where they both reside has been terminated from her position as property manager at Tribeca-STL.

Since identified as Hilary Thornton, the woman is seen on the video trying to block D’Arreion Toles from entering the Elder Shirt Lofts building where they both reside. 

Tribeca-STL issued a statement after Thornton's and place of employment were shared in the comments of a Facebook video posted by Toles on Saturday.

“The video did involve one of our employees, but the event did NOT take place at Tribeca-STL and did NOT involve one of our tenants,” the company said in a statement. “The video is showing the employee in her private life at her own residence interacting with another person.”

In the video, Thornton is seen blocking Toles as he attempts to enter the downtown loft building and demanding that he show her his key card and give his unit number.

Tribeca-STL also said:

“After a review of the matter the employee has been terminated and is no longer with our Company. At Tribeca-STL we want all residents, guests and visitors to feel welcome, safe and respected. The Tribeca-STL family is a minority-owned company that consists of employees and residents from many racial backgrounds. We are proud of this fact and do not and never will stand for racism or racial profiling at our company.”

In an interview with Fox 2, Thornton said Toles attempted to enter the building without using a key fob and she was only following instructions from the condo board, not acting out of racism.

Watch: See the full Facebook video

D'Arreion Toles spoke to KSDK-TV about the incident at happened in a downtown St. Louis apartment building on Oct. 12, 2018.
Credit KSDK-TV
D'Arreion Toles spoke to KSDK-TV about the incident at happened in a downtown St. Louis apartment building.

The interaction includes Thornton telling Toles that she is uncomfortable and repeatedly demanding that he disclose the unit in which he lives.

“I don’t need to tell you that information,” Toles tells her. “I live here and you are blocking the door.”

She would not budge after Toles’ repeated requests for her to step aside.

More: View parts of the exchange in this report from KSDK-TV

Read the full story from the St. Louis American here.

The St. Louis American and KSDK-TV are both news partners of St. Louis Public Radio. 

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.