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Benjamin Moore is the name of a paint company: Benjamin Moore Paints.
Clinton Tucker is the name of a former Benjamin Moore Paints employee who managed online sales for the company.
“Clinton Brown,” “Tucker Chocolate” and “Confederate Red” are the names of Benajamin Moore Paints paint colors that Clinton Tucker says the company named after him.
Alleging racist intent, the now-terminated Tucker is suing Benjamin Moore.
“Being a black man named Clinton Tucker, the plaintiff found this to be extremely racially offensive,” read a complaint filed in Essex County Court.
Tucker claims that the company’s executive management were aware of his displeasure with the color names, but failed to take his complaints seriously and then terminated — allegedly unlawfully — him in March 2014.
Tucker worked on a project to create a new line of paint colors. One of the shades was given the name “Tucker Chocolate.”
The company already had a color named “Clinton Brown.” A co-worker pointed out the names of the two paint colors, which together contained Tucker’s first and last name, and thought it was funny, according to the lawsuit.
“Tucker found it to be repulsive,” the complaint reads.
“Coupled with ‘Tucker Chocolate,’ it was racially offensive and demeaning to Clinton Tucker.”
Tucker claims that in a meeting in which employees were asked about their favorite Benjamin Moore colors, he turned to a supervisor and said “well you know my least favorite colors.”
A colleague then spoke up, saying “if you think that is bad, what about Confederate Red?”
“Confederate Red” is another Benjamin Moore paint whose name seemingly references the southern side of the U.S. Civil War.
“Despite Mr. Tucker’s repeated complaints and protestations to [Benjamin Moore] management about these appallingly racial color names, no action was ever taken,” Tucker’s suit reads, pointing out that the company still sells the paint colors at its stores and online.
Tucker made other allegations, including that the company has a “toxic” work environment that is hostile to minorities.
Tucker, who identified himself as homosexual, heaped more racist and equal employment opportunity-related allegations upon his former employer.
The 34-year-old plaintiff claims he was denied promotions in favor of whites, ignored when he asked to take off work to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, demoted and then unlawfully terminated.
BenjaminMoore.com describes “Tucker Chocolate” as “capturing the 1798 color requested by St. George Tucker for his home facing Courthouse Green, this deep brown is classic and understated.”
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