The Daily Moth 9-6-19

Dorian makes landfall in North Carolina; Three confirmed deaths from vaping products ; 911 Employee apologizes for signing gibberish in parody interpreter video; Deaf woman suing Burger King for calling police on her after drive-thru denial

[Transcript] Hello, welcome to The Daily Moth! It is Friday, September 6. Ready for news?


Dorian makes landfall in North Carolina

Hurricane Dorian made landfall on North Carolina’s Outer Banks as a Category 1 storm this Friday morning, causing serious flooding with winds up to 90 mph. There are hundreds of people who are trapped by flooding on Ocracoke Island and first responders have been sent to rescue them. More than 400,000 homes and businesses lost power in the Carolinas and Virginia.

The hurricane spawned several tornadoes that damaged homes and businesses, but there are no reports of severe injuries of deaths.

Hurricane Dorian is expected to continue moving parallel to the northeastern U.S. coast and then made landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada on Saturday evening.

The death toll in the Bahamas has increased to 30, and there are still hundreds and possibly thousands of people who are still missing in the Grand Bahama and Abacos islands. Officials have warned that there might be a staggering death toll. Over 200 body bags were sent to the islands in preparation. The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued over 200 people.

There is a viral picture and video of a red Jeep that is stuck on the beach in Myrtle Beach. The owner said he allowed his cousin to drive on the beach to take a photo of the sunrise before the hurricane came, but he went too far and became stuck. Police said they would remove it when it’s safe to do so.


Three confirmed deaths from vaping products

There are now three confirmed deaths from people using vaping products, with a fourth possible death under investigation. There are reports of over 450 vape users with lung injuries. It is not known exactly what is causing the illnesses and deaths. The majority of those sickened are young males who use THC products.

The Washington Post reported that state and federal health officials are focusing on a chemical that is an oil derived from vitamin E, which was found in cannabis (THC) vaping products in samples collected from patients who became ill. The oil could cause respiratory issues.

But there are nicotine vape users whose products did not show anything unusual — yet they became ill — so health officials are confused on what is causing the illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said while their investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products.


911 Employee apologizes for signing gibberish in parody interpreter video

There was a viral video in the Deaf community of two hearing women who acted like an emergency official and an interpreter making announcements in a parody video, in an attempt to be funny.

Here is the video, which was posted on a Facebook page called “Houston Deaf Politics Views, Comedy, News/Events.”

[Video of two women standing on a parking lot, one speaking and the other signing gibberish]

A Deaf artist and activist from Georgia, Amy Cohen Efron, said the skit was in “very poor taste” and was able to track down who the interpreter actor was and identified her as Tamra Whitted, who according to her Facebook profile, is a 911 Emergency Services Dispatcher in Lumberton, North Carolina. The other woman is Cathy Hammonds, who also works for the city’s emergency services.

Efron emailed the City of Lumberton Emergency Services to complain and pointed out that the highest ethical and moral conduct should be expected of her because she is a 911 dispatcher.

The director of Emergency Services, Bill French, responded to Efron via email and sincerely apologized for his employees publishing the “offensive Facebook post and remarks.”

French shared a statement from the two women, who said they deeply apologize and said they didn’t think before they acted. They said they should have known not to make fun of the deaf and hard of hearing.

The Daily Moth emailed French to ask if the emergency department will take any steps to possibly educate and train, or re-train, emergency staff. We did not get an immediate response, but if we do, we will add it in the comments.

Efron told “The Daily Moth” that French has reached out to the North Carolina Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services to schedule a training session for his department.

There was another interpreter parody video on social media by a social media comedian named “Kitchen aka FatandFunny” who created a video of him in a PIP screen “interpreting” for an emergency announcement. He made gibberish arm movements and dance moves.

Efron posted on Facebook that there is a big difference with the second video because he is a comedian and not a 911 operator, as far as she knows.


Deaf woman suing Burger King for calling police on her after drive-thru denial

A Deaf woman from Oklahoma, Rachel Hollis, was denied service at a Burger King drive-thru on August 21 in Oklahoma City. She filmed employees telling her to come inside because they were too busy. A Burger King employee dialed 911 on her and a police officer was sent.

Hollis said her children were in the car with her.

Hollis is now working with an attorney, Cameron Spradling, and the Oklahoma Disability Law Center to sue Burger King.

The attorney Spradling provided “The Daily Moth” with a video of a Burger King manager, handing Hollis a note saying, “I can’t do a full order at the window — Too Busy!”

[Video (0:00 to 0:20) and image of “too busy” handwritten note]

Hollis did not move her car and after more than a minute, the same employee opened the window, gestured for her to come in, and appeared to mouth “police.” He continued to speak. KFOR 4 News said the man said, “It has nothing to do with your disability, I have a disability too.”

[Video (0:21 to 0:40).]

After the manager slammed the window, Hollis’ video shows a female employee on a cellphone. Spradling said this is the 911 call. He provided me with the audio of the call and I got it transcribed. I will show you two portions of it.

[Transcript of 911 call]

911: And what's the deal with her? What's going on?

BK Employee: Well, she's, um, she's deaf and we're really, really busy, and I asked if she would come inside and we could take her order in here. She just signed her order, a really big order, in the drive through, and, uh, we're not busy on the inside and I have like my drive through wrapped. Like, she just pulled up to this window, and my drive through all the way wrapped around.

911: Okay.

BK Employee: And so I asked her if she would come inside.


911: Okay, and she is still in your drive through?

BK Employee: Yes, she is.

911: And what is she saying? Or what is -

BK Employee: She’s just, she just has her phone out, and she’s trying to take pictures and stuff.

911: Okay. All right, we’ll get someone out there.

BK Employee: Okay, thank you.


After about a minute and a half, another Burger King employee by the window speaks briefly with Hollis before the video cuts off.

[Video (0:41 to end)]

Hollis said she mouthed the words, “Can you help me?,” and that the window employee mouthed, “I don’t know… I think so. Okay, what is your order?”

Hollis stopped recording at this point so she could use her phone to display the order. The window employee typed down the price of the order on Hollis’ phone, $13.09, then informed her that police had been called.

Hollis was able to get her order and drove away at the same time a police cruiser pulled up. Hollis said she was not sure if the officers followed her, but she went home without any incidents.

Spradling said Hollis never received a receipt for the order and that Burger King has never said that she was served. He suspects the window employee never rang it up and served her so that Hollis could leave before she was arrested.

Spradling said the time Burger King spent denying her service and calling the police could have simply been used to be kind and serve her an order.

NBC’s Today received a statement from Burger King that said the restaurant owner has reached out to the guest and her family to apologize, has terminated the employee (apparently the manager), and that all the employees at that location will undergo additional training.

Hollis told “The Daily Moth” that she is grateful that her story has been on news outlets around the world, but is disheartened by people’s cruel and prejudiced comments. She said she was accused of setting up the whole thing just to get money.

Hollis said Burger King has not apologized to her directly. Hollis said the franchise owner, Switchgrass, called her sister to explain they have fired the (manager), but did not contact her directly.

Hollis and attorney said they have not heard from Burger King since they sent their letter about their intentions to take legal action.

Spradling, in the letter to Burger King, said said they would pursue all available remedies including injunctive relief, actual damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.


That is all for this week. Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light!


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