Woman breaks silence

Woman breaks silence
July 12
05:00 2018

Glenridge resident involved in viral pool incident releases statement

For the first time since the incident last week, Jasmine Abhulimen, the woman at the center of an alleged racially charged viral video at a neighborhood pool, has broken her silence. Earlier this week, Abhulimen released a statement through her attorney, Eric Ellison.

Here’s what we know: On Wednesday, July 4, Abhulimen was enjoying the holiday at the Glenridge Community Pool with her son when Adam Bloom, then-chairman of the pool committee and member of the Glenridge Home Owners Association (HOA), asked Abhulimen to verify her address.

After she provided her address, Bloom proceeded to ask for Abhulimen’s identification to verify her address. When she, refused Bloom demanded she leave the pool and even called the police to have the woman and her son removed.

According to the statement issued to The Chronicle on Sunday, June 8, several residents at the pool who witnessed the encounter told Bloom that Abhulimen was a member of the Glenridge community, but he continued to demand identification and ask Abhulimen to leave.

The statement reads; “… Several Glenridge members approached Mr. Bloom and informed him that Mrs. Abhulimen did in fact reside in the Glenridge community and that he was making a mistake. Mr. Bloom ignored their pleas and proceeded to call 911 and informed the police that Mrs. Abhulimen was a ‘non-resident who refused to leave.’

“… Based on Mr. Bloom’s rude and demeaning attitude before and during the video recording, his repeated demand to see her ID when she was the only African-American present, even after several community members confirmed Mrs. Abhulimen’s residence, his false claims to the 911 operator, and his refusal to issue an apology, can lead to only one conclusion – Mr. Bloom treated Mrs. Abhulimen rudely and unfairly due to her race and Mrs. Jasmine Abhulimen was racially profiled.”

Once on the scene, officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department listened to both Abhulimen’s and Bloom’s concerns and asked Abhulimen did she have a “pool access card,” which was provided by the Glenridge HOA, and the only thing needed to access the pool. Officers determined that Abhulimen had the correct access card and was allowed to use the pool.

In the video that has been viewed nearly 7 million times on social media and made headlines across the country following the encounter, Bloom refused to apologize to Abhulimen, instead telling officers that he was “satisfied for today.”

Thousands of people let Bloom know how angry they were about what transpired by leaving comments and messages on his Facebook page. Many angry individuals even reached out to Sonoco, Bloom’s employer for the past five years.

Once the complaints started to roll in, Sonoco fired Bloom. A statement released by the company on its Facebook page reads, “The well-documented incident, which involves activities at a neighborhood pool over the 4th of July, does not reflect the core values of our Company and the employee involved is no longer employed by the Company in any respect.”

The statement goes on to say Sonoco does not condone discrimination of any kind.

Although he refused to apologize to Abhulimen at the pool, after he was fired from his job and resigned from the Glenridge HOA, Bloom sat down with “NBC Nightly News” to discuss the incident and issue an apology. 

Bloom mentioned although there was nothing about Abhulimen’s appearance that made her look suspicious, when she provided two different addresses, it raised red flags.

He said, “There is nothing about her as a person that was suspicious. The only thing that was suspicious is two different addresses provided and two different durations of residency in the neighborhood.”

Bloom said he doesn’t think he was being too strict but he could have handled the situation better.

“I don’t think I was necessarily being too strict. I think I could have handled it differently and better and been more empathetic to how she may have felt from her interaction, and for that I sincerely apologize,” Bloom said.

Bloom mentioned when he noticed how much attention the video was getting on social media, he began to reflect on the incident and realized that he should have apologized.

During the interview, which aired on Friday, July 6, Bloom also requested to sit down with Abhulimen to discuss the incident. He said he believes having a one-on-one conversation with Abhulimen could begin the healing process.

Ellison and Abhulimen dispute several claims made by Bloom, including the fact that his client provided the wrong address. Ellison says Abhulimen “politely and respectfully” provided the correct address, but Bloom then went further and demanded identification.

Ellison said his client looks forward to working with the Glenridge HOA to build a better community where everyone feels safe. Although Ellison said Abhulimen does not plan to file a civil suit against Bloom right now, he didn’t leave it out as a future possibility.

“An olive branch has been extended by the Glenridge Home Owners Association and we’re going to take advantage of that opportunity to make it a better place,” continued Ellison. “Litigation isn’t something we’re pushing for right now.”

When asked if a sit-down with Bloom would be happening any time soon, Ellision said,  “Not at this time, because there are still fundamental differences about what happened on that day.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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