Best Buy

Best Buy Employee Says He Was Told to Stay Home Or Wear a Different Mask After Wearing ‘Black Lives Matter' Mask

The Best Buy employee says, "The best thing I can do is stand up for what I believe in."

NBC Universal, Inc.

Andrew Payne, a Best Buy employee, says he wasn't trying to cause any trouble when he first put a "Black Lives Matter" mask on.

"When I put it on, it doesn't pinch my ears down so my glasses fall off," Payne says.

But that was before managers at the Empire Center Best Buy store pulled him aside. Blake says he's worked at the location for five years.

Payne says the general manager told him, "We don't want to have any safety issues, and it would be best if you don't wear the mask tomorrow."

But as he headed back to his job in the store's warehouse, that statement started to bother him. He looked around and saw a flyer, informing everyone that a "most patriotic mask" contest was underway.

The winner gets a Starbucks card.

Payne says other people around the building were wearing other masks that had sports teams and all kinds of different designs.

Alexis, Payne's sister, said, "I don't think that saying, 'My life matters' and 'Black lives matter' is that controversial."

The Best Buy employee says, "The best thing I can do is stand up for what I believe in."

In response to a request for comment, Best Buy's corporate headquarters sent NBCLA the following statement:

“On June 16th, we shared the following communication to all employees via email: We have begun to hear from some that they would like to use their face masks or company uniforms to express social or political views. While we love the passion those requests frequently represent, our country is deeply divided, and those divisions sometimes spill over into anger and even violence. No matter the intention any employee might have, we can’t predict what the response might be and, as a result, we can’t allow such individual expressions if they might endanger you, a teammate or our customers."

Payne says he was given an option after his discussion with his supervisor: Either wear another mask or don't come to work.

"If you believe in something, stand up for it," Payne, who has chosen not to return to work for the time being, said.

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