African American Woman Compared To Ape in Instagram Photo by Coworkers

Lisa Fisher, an African American woman, employed at Mermaid Manor Assisted living facility in Brooklyn, NY, was shocked to find her picture had been put up on Instragram by her coworkers in April 2013. It wasn’t just any picture either. These coworkers had located a picture of Ari (mistakenly referred to in the photo as Cornelius) from the 2001 movie, Planet of the Apes, and they placed her photo next to it. The caption asked if she resembled this ape.




censored Lisa Fister photo

By any standard, this would be seen as racial harassment by one’s coworkers, but Ms. Fisher did not find any sympathy or recourse when she reported the incident to her employer. Instead, she has ended up cutting back on her hours at work to try and avoid these coworkers who she reports continue to harass her. She is especially frustrated because a coworker who was not white was fired from the job for using an anti-white racial slur. When called for comment on the situation, a representative of Mermaid Manor Assisted Living said that they would be calling back. To date, they have not replied to the request for their side of the story.

As might be expected, the incident and the ongoing harassment, have taken an emotional toll on Ms. Fisher. She reports feeling “humiliated,” “very ashamed,” and even “like I have been raped.” She wants two outcomes right now from this situation: 1) to see these coworkers dismissed for their racist behavior and harassment of her; and 2) to have her story told so that people know what happened and understand what she has been going through.

Ms. Fisher does tell her story in a YouTube video in her hope that more people will learn of this racial harassment.  She hopes that this hostile working environment will end. It remains to be seen what actions will eventually be taken.


44 Replies to “African American Woman Compared To Ape in Instagram Photo by Coworkers”

  1. “By nearly any standard…”

    “Nearly” any standard? No, by ANY STANDARD what this woman experienced is shameful and those who did this ought to be made to answer for it.

  2. Whatever happens this video must go viral. The employer must be shamed and the local people must know. Get out and retweet this with the youtube address and this story address

  3. I hope ALL of the co-workers are FIRED IMMEDIATELY! And I hope they have a hard time finding another job after being such disgusting excuses of “human beings”. Trashy people! Unbelievably trashy!

  4. Jeebus. This kind of behavior makes me SICK. Whomever posted that picture needs to have his/her sorry ass fired, immediately. Beyond disgusting.

  5. Despicable. It seems like the co-worker who did this is NOT white (brownskinlulu?) Regardless, she should be fired immediately.

  6. Isn’t there a law against harassment in the workplace. Aren’t there any civil rights lawyers out there anymore? I know its not the sixties but damn this is really retro. We seem to be walking backwards.

  7. This is very sad. I hope the coworkers who did this to her lose their jobs. It makes me wonder how they treat their non white patients.

  8. I cannot imagine the humiliation and the pain…it’s just unfathomable. This is a person who takes care of those who can’t take care of themselves, who offers compassion and kindness. Makes me wonder how the patients of her Neanderthal co-workers are treated? And, if they’re not white?….what sort of disrespect are they suffering while in the care of the other employees? Not only should a lawsuit be filed, but the state needs to investigate this company. Poor Lisa.

  9. The national climate, indeed, has deteriorated since the Sixties: it’s not this poor lady who resembles Planet of the Apes.

  10. New York State has a Civil Rights Act on the lawbooks.

    She needs to get a good lawyer and SUE THEM IN COURT.

  11. Has it occurred to you what a racist sociopath you likely are, going out of your way to jump to a disgusting, racist stereotype without the least bit of a clue of what you’re talking about, much less any shred of conscience or sense of what’s important here?

  12. Just a few days ago, I was told I must be the daughter of Morticia Addams, because I’m so white. I was told to go out in the sun and get skin cancer, so I would die.

    I reported it to Facebook as hate speech based upon my ethnicity.

    They decided it was fine, because hateful racism is F I N E if it’s only against WHITE PEOPLE.

    Racism is racism, and racism won’t fix racism.

    We ALL need to act like human beings.

  13. i know she was hurt, and that breaks my heart. what really makes me sad is that there are the type of people that would deliberately hurt someone like this living amongst us.
    helena carter (ari) is a beautiful woman, and even in her ape makeup, she’s still a beautiful woman. the type of people that did this, that’s as ugly as a person can get

  14. It’s about time those who continually make (have made) racist remarks and statements be held accountable for their slander against African-Americans and others of color. This behavior has been going on especially since 1.20.08 when a group of TGOPs so-called “representatives” decided they would not support President Obama and his agenda.

    This has also continued when SCOTUS voted against the Voting Rights Act, stating “there is no longer a need”
    for such an Act. These so-called Justices must be living in a bubble, don’t read a “corporate” newspaper, don’t see the long lines of African-American voters and elderly. They need to wake up and bring true justice not true discrimination to the people of the United States OR get out of this important position because they are incompetent!

    This behavior is despicable and should not be tolerated by the American people!

    Every one of the above-mentioned must be impeached and blocked from all political leadership positions and media …

  15. I don’t think she has a lawsuit because she hasn’t been fired; and the so-called harassment was a picture comparison (free speech). However,the employees should be reprimanded.

  16. It is and isn’t, and it’s hard to imagine, particularly on this site, anyone suggesting or thinking otherwise. However, I am wondering about how distracted you must have been when you read this article, perhaps due to your recent experience with similar hate. Both the article and Lisa in her video state that a non-white employee had been fired at this putrid workplace for making a race-based derogatory remark towards a white co-worker. Now that’s quite an example of distilled, highly purified INSTITUTIONAL racism. Can you not see that Lisa’s experience happened at her place of employment, doing actual, concrete harm to her ability to earn a living? Yours took place on social media and could have no concrete effects on your livelihood. This kind of hate expressed on Facebook, a famously vapid forum full of trolls, in which which you voluntarily participate is one thing. Labor law and civil rights on the job is a quite another. In that important sense, this story is VERY different!

  17. Not for nothing, but has it occurred to YOU that she could very well be working? A lot of health care facilities and companies use texting to keep track of overworked staff!

  18. If her employer is allowing this kind of racist treatment to be directed towards her by her co-workers. She should be able to sue the employer. I would think she should be able to sue the employee that put up the picture also. The co-worker/co-workers doing this towards her are disgusting trash.

  19. I would suggest that you may want to stop thinking about this subject, at least without careful supervision. Heard of the codified, actionable thing called ‘hostile work environment’? This very kind of thing is not only actionable (i.e. constitues ‘a case’),but has been successfully litigated many, many times. You might want to check out the case law on discrimination in the workplace before saying something so uninformed.

  20. If I were in Lisa Fisher’s shoes, I would sue Instagram. Maybe permission from the subject of a photo should be obtained before the photo is released for all the world to see, ogle or laugh at. Both Facebook and Instagram have become the means by which prejudice and meanness can be easily disseminated. Some people end up committing suicide from being ostracized and made fun of by strangers. There was no need for the whole world to see these photos and, frankly, I see no comparison between Lisa Fisher and the made-up movie character. Ms. Fisher looks like a very nice lady, doing her job and its not an easy job to do. The wanton dissemination of meanness should be stopped.

  21. I want to know the name of the reporter who said that after Obama was elected we were living in a Post racial America! I want to know his or her name to tell them;YOU WERE WRONG!

  22. This country is getting harder and harder to live in. All of us, had better take a step back and really think about where we are heading.

    No one has to endure something like that lady did, especially by their co-workers. You have a problem, man up and work it out, good or bad.

  23. I feel terrible for her. She doesn’t deserve this and her boss should have nipped this right away. She by the way is very pretty.

  24. This is disgraceful and filled with racism. I’m surprised at Management’s response or lack thereof and have to believe they encourage this kind of behaviour. They need to be investigated from the top on down and changes made to the institution.

  25. As an African-American woman myself, I find the racial harassment especially offensive. What’s worst of all is management’s refusal to address the problem. I don’t know which of these geniuses thought up this idea, and it really doesn’t matter. The fact is that a number of them got together and decided to single her out for this kind of vile treatment. It has to be emotionally trying to work in this kind of atmosphere where one is being regularly ill-treated with no one in management looking out for her interests. As far as I’m concerned, not only should the people responsible for this disgusting Instagram posting be fired, but the folks in management who refuse to take action should also be sent packing.

  26. Thank you to “the thumb people” for reiterating that racism against white people is FINE.

    M O R O N S .

  27. Which one of us are you calling a liar, ibwilliamsi?

    Are you a psychic, or just gifted with godlike omnipotence?

    Since she and I both can prove our experiences, I’d say you’re just an ass.

  28. Racism, however, describes patterns of discrimination that are institutionalized as “normal” throughout an entire culture. It’s based on an ideological belief that one “race” is somehow better than another “race”. It’s not one person discriminating at this point, but a whole population operating in a social structure that actually makes it difficult for a person not to discriminate.

    Now how is this site racist against white people?

  29. Thank you, hippie social worker, for an intelligent, considered, and POLITE response.

    You are perfectly right. She was abused in her place of work, at a job-site where there appears to have been an established pattern of such abuse. She was wronged, and she has legal recourse.

    However, the point I was making was specifically about racism:
    . racism is racism;
    . racism is no cure for racism; but
    . racism against white people is accepted.

    I stand behind that.

  30. djchefron: Thank you for not being rude.

    I agree that the traditional definition of racism has been about the imagined superiority of a whole race.

    Reverse racism is about “getting back” at a whole race.

    I lived in Harlem for ten years–deep in Harlem. I might know more about reverse racism than most people. I also know a lot more about living happily as a member of the white minority. I might be more willing to talk about reverse racism than most white people because I’ve walked the walk.

    It truly exists, and it is an aberration, rather than a “fix”.

  31. No, it’s an observation ABOUT race. And incidentally, that racism exists everywhere.

    It’s tiresome and boring to read the knee-jerk attacks of “racism” every time someone remarks ABOUT the ugliness of racism no matter who/where it originates.

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