Rapper 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson III, has likely faced a serious public relations nightmare: he picked on a janitor with Asperger’s and social anxiety, and the public was not happy about it.
The incident took place in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, where 19-year-old Andrew Farrell was doing his job. The rapper approached him and shot a video, in which he insisted Farrell was on drugs, lacing his accusation with strong language. 50 Cent then posted the video on Instagram but pulled it after receiving backlash.
But the Internet wasn’t about to let it lie; another individual re-uploaded the video onto YouTube, where it’s been gaining notoriety. It’s gotten nearly 1.5 million views at the time I’m writing this.
Here is a version that edited out the swearing:
Since the incident went viral, people have flooded Farrell with support via social media. Several local bars have boycotted 50 Cent’s brand of vodka, Effen Vodka. Farrell himself spoke out about the incident—which he naturally found upsetting—calling 50 Cent a jerk. And people everywhere called for the rapper to apologize, including Farrell’s family.
“It hurts to watch that, it’s painful,” said his father. “You come up and you start talking to a kid you know nothing about. That’s not fair. That’s a slap in the face.”
He also said, “To put this video out there saying my son is on drugs or whatever, that is part of his social anxiety. He’s not wanting to talk, he’s not wanting to communicate, he’s walking on and he’s doing his job.”
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Since the incident, 50 Cent has, in fact, apologized to the family.
“I am truly sorry for offending the young man,” he said to Page Six. “It was certainly not my intent to insult him or the disability community, which is a source of great strength in America.”
Well, 50 Cent, we hope you have learned a valuable lesson from this situation: never make snap judgments about a person.