“She has a smell about her, like a fried, oiled smell…,” Young Black woman quits job after secretly recording colleagues making racist comments about her

Despite everyone’s efforts combating racism in every type and form, there are plenty of people out there don’t realizing the racism as a problem. Unfortunately, racism is still part of our everyday life and thousands, if not millions of people, face racism almost every single day.

Earlier this month, a young Black woman shared what she experienced while at work and her story immediately went viral on the social media. According to the story, the young Black woman was victim of racism at the company where she worked until she finally decided to quit her job after the incident.

The 25-year-old J. Frimpong, an IT graduate, suspected her colleagues that they were talking about her behind her back and she decided to record them. In one occasion, Frimpong left her phone on the table and had gone to the toilet. Unaware that she had left her phone on record and was taping their every word, Frimpong’s two female colleagues made racial comments about her leaving her devastated.

According to Frimpong who later uploaded the recorded audio on her social media profiles, her now former colleagues said behind her back that ‘black people have a smell about them’ and ‘don’t wash their hair’. She allegedly couldn’t stand the whole atmosphere at Legal & General’s London HQ and decided to quit her job before unveiling the incident with the public. An investigation about the case was immediately launched.

Frimpong later on Twitter explained that this is not the first racial incident she was involved in the company where she worked. She added that she had experienced racism and bullying on ‘multiple occasions’ before resigning. On January 6, she had tweeted: ‘No workplace should ruin your mental health’.

Posting an excerpt from the shocking tape on Twitter, she said: ‘I didn’t want to have to bring this to Twitter.

‘However I felt there was no other way to show everyone the racists and bullies @landg_group employ to represent them. I felt forced to quit my job with them today after I experienced racism and bullying on multiple occasions.’

In the minute-long section of the tape she posted, two unidentified women, A and B, can be heard in conversation about her:

‘A: …and she has a smell about her, like a fried, oiled smell. Is it just me? It stresses me out.

B: It is a strong smell. I don’t know if it’s oil or what.

A: Maybe it’s lotion

B: It could be cocoa butter

A: Black people have a smell about them

B: Maybe it’s cocoa butter

A…Mixed with something. Hair gel or something

B: Maybe, yes.

A: You know, some people smell clean and fresh – and some others …..

B: You know black people, they don’t wash their hair.’

At one point, one of the woman adds, ‘she’s not here, though, she’s in the toilet.’

Frimpong released the tape on her Twitter handle, named ‘Mikasa Ackerman’, a fictional character in Japanese manga comic books.

Hundreds of Twitter users immediately shared their support and encouraged her to take legal action for constructive dismissal.

The company tweeted in response to the original tweet: ‘We are upset & saddened to hear about your experience. The allegations are appalling & are not reflective of us or our culture. We have an internal investigation underway to identify all individuals concerned & we will do all we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.’

Cindy Carey


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