(CN) – A man who was fired for calling watermelon “Obama fruit” at a company picnic lost his bid for unemployment benefits in the Missouri Court of Appeals.
Darwin Holly was at a picnic for TAMKO Building Products when he made the comment.
Holly had worked for TAMKO for more than 16 years. He said, “I’m going to sit down and eat my ‘Obama fruit.'”
One of his co-workers shook his head and said “That isn’t right.”
Holly was fired for violating the company’s racial harassment policy. He was also denied unemployment benefits by the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission.
Holly argued that he was making a political statement, calling the president a “melon head,” not a racial stereotype.
But the commission saw it differently, as did Judge William Francis Jr. on appeal.
“The Commission did not have to determine that the phrase ‘Obama fruit’ would be in all circumstances, but only had to determine if it constituted racial harassment in this situation and context,” Francis wrote.