Two drunk men on a flight from Labrador to Newfoundland last Monday caused an outrage, leading to their sacking, after it emerged that one of them at said “Eskimo,” which is now a politically incorrect term.
The two men, Dave Beck and Thomas Scott are both from St. John’s, Newfoundland, worked primarily as plasterers and painters.
The men had been working a hotel renovation project in Nalcor-owned Churchill Falls for around three weeks, which was overseen by a Mount Pearl company called Kankote Enterprises, according to CBC.
Beck pinned his behavior on the fact that he had too much to drink.
In an interview with CBC, Beck said: “I know that’s no excuse for the remarks I made, my words that hurt so many people, especially Indigenous people. I’m not a racist. I would say culturally uneducated. Culturally illiterate.”
Scott chimed in, saying: “I’m sick to my stomach. I can’t eat. My family is ashamed of me. And I feel bad for the people that we disrespected. I feel very sorry about that.”
On his firing, Beck went onto say: “My job is gone. One of the best employers I ever had. I have no income now whatsoever. I’ll live on my savings until that’s gone and we’ll take it from there, I guess.
“The [embarrassment] that I’ve caused them all. My sons. My daughter. My wife. Her family. My family. I’m truly sorry.”
On the specific incident, CBC reports:
As passengers boarded the flight during a stopover in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Beck used the derogatory term “Eskimo” to describe an Indigenous person, prompting Scott to remark, “Can you smell him?”
This incident was witnessed by Innu Nation member and former Labrador MP Peter Penashue, and other passengers on the flight.
Both Beck and Scott admit this happened, and to an allegation that they mocked an Innu woman speaking her language during a phone call.
Following the incident, news spread after indigenous leaders began speaking about what had happened on the flight.
In spite of several years on the job, and being the only two Kankote employees at the remote Churchill falls, both men were fired and had their names dragged through mud–reducing future job prospects.
On the incident, Kankote owner told CBC: “This is extremely unfortunate and disappointing as the actions of the two employees, in no way, reflect the values and integrity of the company.”
The men, aware of the damage done to their reputation, only hope their apologies can be accepted.