Dunkin’ has fired the employees involved in pouring a pitcher of water on a homeless man trying to charge his phone in a Syracuse, New York store after a video of the encounter went viral. The video, posted Sunday night and cited in a Tuesday report from USA Today, shows Jeremy Dufresne, who is homeless, sleeping at a table in the Dunkin’ while charging his device. A Dunkin’ employee then dumps a pitcher of water onto Dufresne’s back, causing him to jump up and dry his phone. “How many times I’ve got to tell you to stop sleeping in here,” the employee said, while the man filming the video laughed. Dufresne quietly replied “it was an accident.” The Post-Standard reported Sunday that Dufresne is schizophrenic, and was charging his phone so that he could say goodnight to his mother. “He probably had some personal problems of his own and needed someone to talk to,” Dufresne said of the worker in an interview with the Post-Standard. “And he took it out on someone else, like me.”
Soon after the video of the incident was posted to Facebook, it went viral and sparked nationwide outrage. One homeless advocate staged a protest outside the store, and started a GoFundMe for Dufresne that has raised more than $3,500. The chief operating officer of the The Wolak group, a network of independently owned Dunkin’ franchises, spoke out in a statement and condemned the employees’ behavior. “We were extremely disturbed by the behavior of our employees captured in the video. It not only violated our written policies, but goes against our core values as an organization—which include creating a welcoming and hospitable environment and treating everyone with dignity and respect.” The statement did not specify how many employees were fired.