An Indian origin CEO says he was racially abused and was told to “go back” to India and also take along top Indian-American diplomat Nikki Haley after he refused to defend US President Donald Trump’s economic agenda following the racial violence in Virginia.

Ravin Gandhi, founder and CEO of GMM Nonstick Coatings, a global supplier of coatings for cookware and bakeware, penned an op-ed for CNBC following the Charlottesville racial violence but in response was slammed and racially abused by readers, the Chicago Tribune reported.

At least one woman was killed and dozens were injured in Charlottesville last week during clashes between white supremacists and counter-protestors at a rally. Trump, instead of blaming white supremacists, held both sides responsible for the violence and was criticised by both Democrats and Republicans for the response.

“I recently told the New York Times I was ‘rooting’ for certain aspects of Trump’s economic agenda,” Gandhi, 44, wrote in the article.

“After Charlottesville and its aftermath, I will not defend Trump even if the Dow hits 50,000, unemployment goes to 1 per cent, and GDP grows by 7 per cent… I will not in good conscience support a President who seems to hate Americans who don’t look like him.

“The fact that Trump equated hate groups with those protesting hate lit me up,” Gandhi said. “His moral leadership on this issue is reprehensible.”

US-born Gandhi, after his op-ed was published, received a voicemail from an alleged Trump supporter, who told him to “get your (expletive) garbage and go back to India”.

“You can take that other half-(expletive) Bangladesh creep with you, Nikki Haley,” the woman said in the message.

“She’s the one that started all this when she took down the Confederate flag. So don’t tell us that you gave him a chance. We don’t give a (expletive) who you gave a chance, OK? We’re going to start taking down Buddhist statues and see how you and Nikki Haley like that.”

The caller told Gandhi to “go clean up your own (expletive) country, it’s a filthy mess”.

He soon posted the voicemail on the social media and also shared the nastier emails he received, the report said.

“It was obvious that people thought my professional position somewhat protected me,” he said. “I wanted to show people that racism is blind to socio-economics.

“Even though my race is a complete non-issue in my day-to-day life, the sad reality is there’s a group of racists in the USA that views me as a second-class citizen,” he said.

“I wanted my peers in the business community, the civic community, and my friend community to see that this can happen to me. Because there’s this delusion that racism is dead because (Barack) Obama was elected (President),” Gandhi said.

He said while his sharing a “bigoted” voicemail may not make a big difference, he will speak out against such abuse as long as he has a platform to do so.

First Published | 24 August 2017 11:29 AM
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