The subject of fracking has stirred up a lot of emotion on both sides of the issue as those in favor of it applaud its ability to bring in new jobs and those against it lament the fact that it can have disastrous environmental consequences. Cinematographer Tom Jefferson observed both sides of the debate when he went to film a peaceful anti-fracking protest in Pennsylvania. He also found himself the target of a foul-mouthed tirade by John Pisone, who hurled a number of crude racist slurs in his direction.
Jefferson remained calm throughout the verbal attack, choosing to fight back with the power of his camera. He caught the whole thing on video, and the footage soon was being widely viewed on the Internet. Pisone’s boss at the land management company saw it and fired him, releasing a statement that condemned his inflammatory language and cruel behavior. For his part, Jefferson felt that it was important to remind people that ugly attitudes like these still exist. The more they are exposed, the better the chances are of fighting against them.
Pisone has since publicly apologized to Jefferson, saying that his crass remarks were fueled by frustration over the fracking debate. He confessed to being somewhat racist, though he said that he lashed out at Jefferson simply because he was angry and the cinematographer was an easy target.
One can hope that the disastrous consequences of his rude behavior and the public shaming that accompanied it might inspire a change of heart in this man and that others like him might see his rant and the fallout from it and think twice before opening their mouths to hurl barbs at a fellow human being. With this kind of awareness, people might just start to learn how to behave more civilly to one another.