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Credit union CEO apologizes for “culturally insensitive” Halloween costumes

halloween costumes.jpg

A social media firestorm erupted the day after Halloween after a picture posted on Facebook showed four bank tellers dressed in Halloween costume in “blackface”.

The tellers at a Lewiston P1FCU branch dressed up as the first Jamaican National Bobsled Team from the 1988 winter Olympics.

But their depiction of the athletes backfired.

It shows four tellers, in the Jamaican flag-themed athletic uniforms, in a homemade bobsled, and their faces painted black.

It’s unclear if the tellers worked the entire day in costume.

According to Potlatch No 1 Federal Credit Union President and CEO Chris Loseth, the picture was posted on a personal Facebook page.

He told KLEW News Wednesday morning, allowing this to happen was regrettable.

Loseth also said the picture was not posted on the P1FCU Facebook page and the original picture has since been taken down.

However, countless people have taken screen shots and the picture has been shared on social media across the country.

Wednesday morning, Loseth posted an apology on P1FCU Facebook page.

Comments underneath his post ranged from people being offended about the picture and his apology, to others not seeing a problem with it because it was just a Halloween costume and some people are being overly sensitive.

“I challenge any of the people who are upset by this to find a more caring and compassionate organization in this community,” posted Tod.

Stevie wrote, “This is ridiculous and PC has gotten out of hand. These P1 girls had good intentions of honoring this team and obviously in no way meant to offend. Those that are judging racism need to look in the mirror.”

One woman said she’s closing her bank account. “This is beyond insensitive. Blackface is racism,” Dani said.

Brittany wrote, “For all of you who see nothing wrong, paint your face black and walk around town, and observe the reactions. I think you will find your answer.”

Molly posted, “OK, can we all agree to disagree here. Maybe they shouldn’t have painted their faces to help look like the characters they were portraying. But I truly don’t feel like they were intending on being disrespectful. The movie is about overcoming struggles. So can we stop and overcome this.”

Chris Loseth called this an incident of cultural insensitivity, and his tellers have been reprimanded.

He said he couldn’t talk about the details because this is now a personnel matter.

“They did not mean to disrespect or harm anyone or cause anybody any grief and neither did P1FCU,” he explained.

“And we know that here in the United States people need to have some cultural sensitivity so we’ll be looking at some emphasis training and deal with cultural issues as they come,” said Loseth.

Loseth said P1FCU has a culturally diverse staff.

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