A white woman who vehemently tried denying access to a black man attempting to get into his own Missouri condo last week, and who was subsequently fired from her job, has denied being racist amid reported death threats.
“My only intent was to follow the direction that I had been given by our condo association board members repeatedly and that is to never allow access to any individual that you do not know,” Hilary Thornton told KTVI on Wednesday.
In the video recorded by D’Arreion Toles and posted to Facebook, he can be heard politely telling the woman that he lives at the St. Louis condominium complex, while she repeatedly questions him and attempts to block his access. Thornton was dubbed “Key Fob Kelly” and “Apartment Patty” after the video went viral.
Thornton repeatedly asks Toles for proof that he lives in the building.
“I’m uncomfortable,” Thornton states in the video, telling the man she needs to see his key fob. “What unit do you live in?”
“I don’t have to tell you that,” Toles replies. “I live here too.”
Toles eventually tells Thornton that he lives on the fourth floor, and later manages to get into the building.
In the interview, Thornton described Toles entering the building as an “altercation that wasn’t caught on video.” As he gets into an elevator, the woman can then be heard asking him who he’s “going to see.”
Thornton defended her actions, and showed KTVI emails “telling residents what to do if they were faced with a situation like this.”
“I simply asked him if he lived there because the direction from the condo is so repeated that if you do not know the person, you do not let them in,” she said. “It’s [a key fob] the only indicator any resident has that they live in the building and he wouldn’t answer me. He would not show me one.”
“To Be A Black man in America, & Come home,” Toles captioned the footage on Facebook.
“Women tries to stop me from coming into my building because she feels insecure, Downtown St. Louis luxury loft, because she don’t feel that I belong, never really thought this would happen to me, but it did! Then 30 mins later police knock on my door, because she called! I was shocked this is America in 2018!”
Thornton said she has been the victim of death threats and is being labeled as racist following the encounter.
“That’s false and heartbreaking,” she said. “Those are words that cut deep…I do not think I did anything wrong.”
Thornton was reportedly fired from her job at Tribeca STL, on the grounds of racial profiling, after the video began circulating on social media.
[Feature photo: Hillary Thornton/Facebook]