Last week a disturbing video of Chrissy Lee Polis, a transgender woman, being beaten into a seizure by two girls at a Baltimore area McDonald’s went viral. The attackers have been caught, but some say the bystanders should be charged as well for refusing to help her.
The attack, which is shown in part in the video above, took place on April 18 at a McDonalds in Rosedale, Maryland after Polis, who is 22, left the women’s bathroom. She claims that one of the girls accused her of talking to “her man,” and started hitting her and pulling her hair. She also told the Baltimore Sun, “They said, ‘That’s a dude, that’s a dude and she’s in the female bathroom.”
One McDonald’s employee recorded the beating on his cell phone, and he and several other employees are shown standing around and laughing in the footage. Another McDonald’s employee does tell the girls to stop and tries to get between them and Polis, but the fight only winds down when an older woman steps in and physically pulls the girls off of her. As Polis has a seizure on the floor, a McDonalds employee warns the attackers, “Police on their way. Y’all better get out of here.”
On Friday, McDonalds posted this statement on its website:
There’s no room for violence under the Golden Arches. We strongly condemn the videotaped assault in one of our Baltimore franchised restaurants. Working with the authorities, we now have more facts, and we want to share our actions with you.
First and foremost, our thoughts are with the victim during this time.
Our franchisee is investigating the behavior and response of his employees. Action has been taken, and the crew member who made the video is no longer employed by his organization. Appropriate action regarding other employees will take place as warranted.
We want to reassure our customers that your neighborhood McDonald’s is a safe, welcoming place for everyone. We share our customers’ concern. We are doing everything possible to make sure the right thing is done.
(Note to McDonald’s PR people: This is not the appropriate time for a corny reference to the “Golden Arches.”) On Saturday the man who filmed the incident was fired, and police have charged an 18-year-old woman and a 14-year-old girl for the attack. Police and representatives from several activist groups say the incident should be considered a hate crime, but police say they’re still investigating and haven’t determined the motive for the attack.
A rally is being organized for tomorrow night outside the McDonald’s to raise awareness of hate crimes against transgender people. Polis says she’s planning to take legal action against the restaurant, explaining, “Anyone in my predicament should not be afraid to walk the streets … They should not have to go into a restaurant and get gawked at and made fun of. They shouldn’t be afraid to leave the house. It’s just wrong.”