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Taco Bell to let employees wear Black Lives Matter face masks

The power of the Black Lives Matter movement

Taco Bell said workers may wear Black Lives Matter merchandise after a video went viral of a former employee at the fast-food chain who said he was fired for wearing a face mask with the slogan.

Denzel Skinner, who worked at a Taco Bell in Youngstown, Ohio, said in a Facebook live video that he was dismissed for wearing a mask with the Black Lives Matter slogan.

Taco Bell said on Thursday that it was "deeply upset" by the incident. "Denzel Skinner should never have been put in this position," the company tweeted. "We believe the Black Lives Matter movement is a human rights issue and not a political one."

"We have been in conversations with Denzel and our franchisees to make sure our actions represent our words," the company added.

In a statement to USA Today, Taco Bell said that employees are allowed to wear Black Lives Matter masks. In the video, posted June 8, Skinner described being told to leave over his face mask.

"This is crazy. All because I've got a Black Lives Matter" mask on, I'm losing my job," he said in the video. He then had a conversation with an unidentified woman, who does not appear in the video, who told him the mask went against company policy.

"You just fired me because I got a Black Lives Matter on," Skinner said in the video.

The woman answered, "You can't bring politics into the building."

"Bro, I'm not bringing politics in — this is what I'm standing for. How is this considered politics?" he replied, adding, "I'm not taking it off."

"Well then, there's nothing I can do for you," she answered. She added that she didn't have a problem with the mask, but "it's a company thing."

Starbucks has also reversed its stance on Black Lives Matter slogans. The coffee chain last week allowed workers to wear pins and T-shirts with the slogan, after initially saying it was outside of dress code.

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