Freshman year of high school was an awkward time.
Fortunately, I was one of those kids who was lucky enough to stay in the same school district for the entirety of my K-12 school career. I realize many were kids not so lucky.
It’s easy for me to remember those peers who had seemingly lived everywhere. They were the ones who had stories of the vastly different schools they had been too, the friends they were forced to leave behind, and the amazing places they had seen outside of my small home state of Idaho.
One person in particular who fits that mold is the recently infamous Gerod Roth.
Gerod, really messed up as of late. He set in motion a series of racist comments posted on a photo of himself and a coworker’s child. This was ultimately the catalyst to his termination.
But before that situation is addressed, a quick story is required for some background information.
I met Gerod about halfway through my first year of high school. He was funny and outgoing and we seemed to get along just fine. We decided that we should hang out and planned to do something I was not familiar with: drink alcohol.
The plan was simple and foolproof, or so we thought; steal some of the vodka from Gerod’s kitchen, pour it in a plastic water bottle, and skateboard away into the night. We quickly realized that there were many potholes in our plan, literally and metaphorically.
We drank at an alarming rate, especially considering that we were skateboarding around a local movie theater at full speed. I was not an experienced drinker up until that point, so I was overly giggly, excessively clumsy, and incredibly drunk.
Before I knew it, I was completely gone. Plastered. Seeing-double. Totaled. My fragile, sheltered body was not accustomed to drinking, and a water bottle full of bottom shelf vodka was rough to say the least.
My level of intoxication was directly clashing with the fact that Gerod’s mother was about to pick us up and drive us back to his house. That paranoia ended soon, as it became apparent that we were going to get caught. There was just no way to get away with the fact that I was totally inebriated.
When we arrived to their upscale home, I didn’t get out of the car. I fell out of the car. Although my memory is obviously fuzzy, I was able to connect the muddled dots. With help from his mother, I made my way into the bathroom. Of course, I was spewing along the way.
From the bathroom to the his bedroom, I also likely emitted a wave of puke. But it didn’t stop there.
When I woke up the next morning I was sleeping on a couch in Gerod’s room and plastic surrounded me to contain my expulsions. The garbage can next to me was tipped over. After hurling through the night, the can somehow wound up on my head. I was in clothes that weren’t my own and I was ready to go home. I apologized awkwardly to his mother, and that was that. Gerod and I never hung out again, and we didn’t stay friends.
Why is any of this important you may ask? Well looking back on the situation, I’m honestly glad I chundered all over the place. And here’s why.
Fast forward about 10 years and guess who popped up in my Facebook feed? None other than Gerod Roth. The post I saw was an article written about him, and the way that his not-so-casual racism victimized a co-worker’s three-year-old son online.
Roth was terminated from his job at Polaris Marketing Group after taking a photo of himself with a coworker’s African-American son, Cayden. On September 16, Roth posted the photo to Facebook and set it as his profile photo. A series of extremely racist comments followed.
Roth’s Facebook friends referred to Cayden as “starving” and a “slave.” Roth joined in on the bigoted discussion by calling the boy “feral” and allowed many racist comments to flood the photo.
The post was eventually removed but not before it went viral. Roth was quickly fired from Polaris Marketing Group.
The irony behind the fact that Roth was terminated from a marketing company is certainly thick. One would think that with a professional background that thrives on the ever-watching public eye, Roth would show more respectable behavior.
Social media use in the workplace has become a topic of much discussion lately and this case is a direct example of why laws need to be set in motion. The legalities related to social media in places of work continue to evolve.
Polaris Marketing Group president, Michael Da Graca Pinto, made the following statement about Roth’s social stunt:
They recently followed up with this statement:
“We are aware of an alleged screenshot of a racially-motivated Facebook post involving a former Polaris Marketing Group employee and the child of a current employee.
Polaris Marketing Group and its staff in no way condone any form of racism or bigotry and would never conduct business in a racist fashion.”
Caden’s mother, Sydney Shelton, is rightfully beyond upset with Roth and the progression of events that took place.
#HisNameIsCayden has been trending on Twitter, to show love and support for the young boy. Also, a good-hearted person created a GoFundMe for Cayden that will be used to aid in paying for college later in life. After only a couple of days the campaign is well over halfway funded.
In an interview, Shelton said:
“He is not a deaf child. He is not mute. He’s never been abandoned. He is well-loved, fun-loving, hyper-active, your typical three year old.”
Clearly frustrated and in tears, Shelton added:
“I do everything that I can to make sure that he never has to need anything. And to see people bashing him, grown people bashing a small helpless child, it breaks my heart.”
It is crystal clear that Shelton is a loving and caring mother that simply wants the best for Cayden. She made the following Facebook post about her son to alleviate any unjustifiable claims that may have surfaced about her son being unhealthy or not provided for.
Although it is unclear what prompted the string of hateful words, Roth has since attempted to explain himself. He did so with a characteristically awful approach, playing victim. He claims his words were taken out of context.
In an interview with Atlanta’s local news, Roth attempted to clear up what he deems as a big misunderstanding:
“I just really feel upset, not only with myself, but also with the character that was based off of the comments that my friends made. I feel as if not only poor Cayden himself has been victimized, but also myself for being targeted”
Way to take the “I’m not a racist, I’m being victimized too” approach Roth. You are effectively adding gasoline to the house fire that is your life right now.
Conduct a Google search on Roth, and you’ll get a results page that’s something out of any marketing or public relations worker’s worst nightmare. Great job Google, you’ve done your research and indexed this person accurately. He’s a slimeball and a manipulative human, thank you for always giving us such precise information.
Should the world forgive Roth for the string of events that took place? I say hell no, and this is why.
Roth made an attempt to clear up the events from the social media firestorm. The breakdown of what was said is highlighted in an article by the Huffington Post. The author of the post, Kat Blaque, hits the nail on the head with her hammering response:
Roth is vexatious and continues to manipulate his situation, thus digging his proverbial hole deeper and deeper.
What did you learn, Gerod? A careless and deceptive post will get your bro-EDM-loving, self fired from a great marketing job. You may have been a marketing whiz, but you really lack any ounce of emotional IQ. Was it worth it? I’m sure it wasn’t.
If you are reading this, you may be asking the question, ‘was it worth it to drink that vodka with me all those years ago?’ To which I’d reply: “Yes, it certainly was. I’d relive all of that vomiting again. Only the second time around, I’d aim for your shoes.”