CHARLOTTE– The Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets have terminated their longtime partnerships with CPI Security.
The Panthers said in a tweet:
“Last Saturday, we said we are committed to doing our part and we mean it. CPI Security has been a long term partner but, upon reflection, we feel that it is right to end our relationship. We have informed Mr. Gill of our decision tonight.”
Jorge Millares, a Charlottean and former CPI employee created a non-profit organization called Queen City Unity. The organization’s primary goal is to bring people of all races together through their four pillars: serving the community, community programs, community engagement and advocacy per Queen City Unity.
The Hornets followed up with a statement Sunday afternoon stating:
“Our chairman (Michael Jordan) has been very clear about his thoughts surrounding the issues of racial equality, social justice and diversity,” the Hornets said in a statement.
“Across our organization from our ownership, to our players, to our staff, we are fully committed to improving racial equality, social injustice, diversity and access to education throughout our company.”
Millares took action. He sent a mass email to local organizations asking for them to take a stand following the death of George Floyd, the unarmed African American and Fayetteville native who died of asphyxiation while being in police custody in Minneapolis.
CPI’s CEO Ken Gill was reportedly the only one in the email who was not a fan of the idea according to the Charlotte Observer.
Gill sent an email back per the Observer, telling Millares to “Please spend your time in a more productive way,” and that “A better use of time, would be to focus on the black on black crime and senseless killing of our young men. Have a great day Ken Gill.”
Millares shared the email on his Facebook and called the comments “insensitive and racist.”
Alexus Dash, a former CPI employee and co-worker of Millares stated that Millares was always kind to her and that Gill may have thought that because Milares worked under him as a supervisor previously that he could speak to Millares in this manner.
“Yeah he [Millares] was kind to me in all the interactions I had with him,” Dash said.
“I think Ken thought that he was on a level of casualty with Jorge and probably felt that since he had formerly worked there, he had some kind of loyalty to him and would not put the email out to the public.”
Gill apologized in a statement.
“Let me say that CPI, and I personally, stand against racism and discrimination of any kind, and we are actively supporting solutions like the new CMPD de-escalation training facility that will bring positive change to our community. I fully support the call for racial equality and justice in our community and our country,” Gill said. “We (at CPI) take a great deal of pride in our inclusive culture and in protecting the families and diverse communities we serve. I apologize if my comments did not reflect those values.”
The University of South Carolina and N.C. State athletics also released statements stating they are also severing their partnerships with CPI.
Many CPI customers have went to social media to announce their displeasure with the company and going as far as to say they will no longer be using their product.
Other CPI partners such as the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Knights, Greensboro Grasshoppers, Durham Bulls, Charleston Riverdogs and the Columbia Fireflies have yet to make any statements regarding CPI.