A gourmet food store cook in Charlotte was fired Sunday after North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s security detail complained about a comment the worker made to the governor as he shopped, according to The Charlotte Observer.
Reid's Fine Foods employee Drew Swope initially asked if he could help McCrory. After realizing he was speaking to the governor, he reportedly told McCrory "thanks for nothing" and walked away.
Swope told the paper the governor was upset with his dismissive comment and began "yelling" at him, saying he shouldn't be addressed that way as a customer. Swope said he doesn't fault the store for firing him, but told the newspaper he thought it was "shocking" that the governor "had me excluded from the workplace because I upset his feelings."
McCrory’s communications director Joshua Ellis told the Observer Monday that Swope had also made an obscene gesture to the governor during the conversation, which Swope denies.
The food store's owner, Tom Coker, said his decision to fire Swope wasn't connected to McCrory's position as governor.
"It's not acceptable in any workplace, especially in the service industry, to treat your customers that way," Coker told the Observer.
The governor has been a target of criticism for the rightward shift North Carolina's political leadership has taken since the state legislature came under Republican control in 2010 for the first time in more than a century.
"Sure, sure, I hide my thin skin most of the time," McCrory said. "Everyone likes to be liked. Name calling and swearing and shouting and screaming is not the way I think good political dialogue should go."
Food seems to be a theme of negative encounters between the governor and those who are disaffected with his leadership. After signing a law restricting access to abortion in July, McCrory offered a plate of cookies to a group of demonstrators outside the governor's mansion, which they returned, untouched.
McCrory's approval rating took a sharp hit after he signed the bill concerning abortion.
In February of 2013, the governor signed a law which slashed benefits for unemployed workers and reduced the length of time during which they can collect aid.