A TikTok user exposed a shocking sign posted outside a Chevron gas station in Los Angeles that explicitly banned Roma people from entering the store.
Florian Tacorian (@florida.florian) is TikToker with a Romani background who is known for his activism and speaking out against racism and discrimination against his community. On Sept. 19, Tacorian posted a video outside a Chevron showing signs inside that read “No gypsy woman in long shoplifting skirts allowed in the store,” and “Nici un tigan,” which reportedly translates to “not a single gypsy” in Romanian.
@florida.florian @Chevron this is literally illegal discrimination, fix it now. #romani #poc #california #losangeles #gypsy #gypsyisaslur #brown #segregation #discrimination #rromani #romatiktok #chevron #romanipeople #gitano #southasian ♬ greedy – Tate McRae
Florian explained that both of these words are actually racial slurs, with “tigan” being the worst out of the two, as it is “literally the equivalent of calling us slaves in Romanian.”
“That word was used against us during the 500 years of chattel slavery that Roma had to endure in Romania,” he said. He also pointed out that the signs are not only racist, but also ignorant, as they confuse Romanian language with Romani.
Florian added that the signs are also insulting the culture of Roma women, who wear long skirts as a tradition to cover the lower parts of their body, comparing it to the bans of the hjiab. The TikToker also expressed his outrage and disbelief that such signs are allowed to exist in America in 2023, and called for Chevron to fire whoever put up these signs.
“This is literally illegal discrimination and segregation, literally banning Romani people from your store,” he remarked.
He urged his viewers to speak up and create a public outcry about this issue, as he said there are no news outlets covering this.
“Where is the Civil Rights Act? This is happening in America right now. This sign is literally reminiscent of early 1900s segregation. This stuff is literally illegal. Why has nothing been done about this?” he asked.
The video has since gone viral, with more than 155,000 views and many comments from people who were shocked and appalled by the signs.
“That’s awful! Thank you for bringing awareness of this!” one user wrote.
“This is now? In LA? This is unbelievable & unacceptable. I’m so sorry. Has anyone contacted an attorney?” a second user asked.
According to an article by CBS News, the sign sparked widespread outrage on the internet and has since been removed. In a statement obtained by the network, Chevron representatives declared, “Chevron is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion at all levels of our company. It is a cornerstone of our corporate values… We are working with the owner of the station to reinforce those values.”
Since then, Florian has gone to X (formerly Twitter) to express his relief that the sign has been taken down, while also expressing disappointment at the lack of further consequences for the discriminatory act.
In an email, Florian told The Daily Dot “to me the response showed a lack of accountability for the harm caused by such signs, the sign being removed was good, however, considering this type of discrimination is illegal, ‘reinforcing values’ is not the appropriate response. Because of the stereotypes spread because of signs like this, many Romani people can’t find work or get unjustly labeled as criminals.”
He continued, “If these illegal actions go without consequences, they can spread to more places. These types of signs have been illegal in the US since the civil rights act and Chevron as a company that has publicly stated that it prides itself on its commitment to diversity and inclusion should demonstrate to us that those aren’t just words and they are willing to implement proper consequences to show their company understands the harm these signs caused.”
He noted Chevron’s past overtures at social justice. “Chevron made a commitment above to be allies and combat racism wherever it’s present, they should speak up about WHY what the employees did was wrong, the impact it caused, and conduct an investigation to see who put up the sign and hold them accountable as stipulated by the California state law, as well as, make sure this never happens again,” he wrote.
In response to The Daily Dot’s comment request, Chevron confirmed the sign has been removed.