Man Gets Fired After Private Chat About Race Goes Public

NBC Universal, Inc.

Jonan Diaz says he didn’t agree with a friend’s Instagram story on racial inequality, so he replied to her via the social media site’s private messenger and it got heated.

“She took a screenshot of that conversation, went onto Twitter, she tagged AT&T and said I’m a racist person,” Jonan told NBC 6 Responds.

In that tweet, his friend Darsell Obrego wrote: “AT&T Do you condone #racist employees like Jonan Diaz who works for your company in Miami, FL? I have more screen shots of his harassment.”

The tweet included a screenshot of Jonan’s reply to her story that read: “None of the MF destroying cities lived none of that…I refuse to feel any type of guilt for something I had nothing to do with. Stop playing the victim game. That’s why blacks feel discriminated because they have been raised like they still have chains on.” 

When asked about what he wrote, Jonan explains it saying he has been discriminated against as an immigrant, and knows racism exists but adds “I refuse to raise my kids with the thinking or the notion that they’re going to grow up in this country and be treated differently.”

Shortly after the initial tweet, Obrego tweets again: “@ATT what is the timeline for you to address and take action on your #racist employee…” AT&T then replies: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention…This does not align with our core values. We will investigate further and take appropriate action.” 

A few weeks later, Jonan was fired.

“The reason behind them firing me is because I had violated the code of business conduct and social media policy,” Jonan said.

The code of business conduct of AT&T states they “do not permit intimidation, discrimination or harassment” and “employees may be held accountable for actions outside of work that could impair work performance or affect the company’s reputation or business interests.”

In a statement AT&T told NBC 6 Responds: “We don’t tolerate hate and discrimination in the workplace. While we can’t comment on the specifics of former employees, we conducted a thorough investigation and took appropriate action based on more than just his comments.”  

The friend who tweeted out their private conversation later removed it and tweeted at AT&T again. 

Jonan says that tweet was “a retraction statement saying there was a big misunderstanding with your employee, Jonan Diaz please contact me as soon as possible.”

NBC 6 reached out to Obrego, but she never responded.

We found this is not the first time she has lit up social media. 

In 2018, she posted a video of a woman calling the New York Police Department because Obrego wouldn’t leave the woman’s doorway. 

In her post, Obrego said she was seeking shelter from a storm and included the hashtag #WhitePrivilege. The video got over a million views and set off a media firestorm as some outlets, mistakenly assuming she was Black, reported that a White woman called the police on a Black woman - something Obrego corrected when she spoke to our NBC station in New York two years ago.

Jonan says AT&T never talked directly to Obrego about what happened in his case.

In his termination papers, AT&T says Diaz violated a non-retaliation policy by contacting the source following the investigatory interview.  He says they are referring to a letter Obrego sent the AT&T investigator retracting her story -  something Jonan claims he didn’t ask her to do. 

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