Charlotte mayor offers to help find job for cook fired after McCrory confrontation

sharrison@charlotteobserver.comFebruary 18, 2014 

Drew Swope, the cook who was fired from his job at Reid’s Fine Foods after a Sunday confrontation with Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, said he has had a handful of job offers, including help from Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon.

Cannon, a Democrat, said he talked to Swope on Tuesday to see whether he could help him find a new job in the private sector.

“To lose a job is nothing that someone wants to do,” Cannon said. “I felt that I would do what I could to help him along the way, if I could make something happen. I have a few leads for him to help him continue being a contributing citizen of Charlotte.”

Cannon said he didn’t want to jump in the middle of the controversy and said he hasn’t spoken to McCrory about the incident. He said he was only trying to help one of his constituents.

McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor, visited the Myers Park gourmet food store and restaurant Sunday afternoon. Swope said he asked him if he needed help and McCrory said no. Swope – who opposes the governor’s politics – said he asked the man whether he was McCrory, and then said, “Thanks for nothing,” before walking off.

Swope said McCrory began yelling at him.

McCrory’s press secretary, Joshua Ellis, said Monday that Swope also made an obscene gesture at McCrory, which Swope denies. Ellis said McCrory didn’t yell at Swope.

McCrory and his security team later spoke to Reid’s owner Tom Coker in the store parking lot, complaining about Swope’s treatment of the governor. The store owner fired Swope.

Swope said he understood his termination but has criticized the governor for being easily offended that Swope “upset his feelings.”

On Swope’s Facebook page Monday, he used offensive language to criticize McCrory.

The story has attracted interest from media such as the U.S. edition of the British newspaper the Guardian, as well as the left-leaning cable network MSNBC.

Cannon said Tuesday, “We all should have an interest in creating jobs and not eliminating them.”

Harrison: 704-358-5160

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