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    US Popcorn Shop Owner Admits to Using Racial Slur, Chasing Out Black Teens

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    California resident Mark Stone, the CEO and founder of gourmet popcorn shop Cornology, issued an apology Wednesday for chasing a group of black customers out of the store and calling them "n***ers."

    "I am deeply sorry for what I did in the heat of a very tense moment during a robbery on Sunday," Stone told Eater San Francisco. "I reacted improperly during a very tense moment. I have sought forgiveness with God, family and friends."

    Stone's apology comes after initial reports in which he alleged that the person who actually yelled out the racial slur on Saturday was an employee of his at the shop. The shop owner first told the San Francisco Chronicle this week that the mysterious worker used the slur in "the heat of the moment" after witnessing the group try to steal from the store.

    "Regretfully, you can't take back something that was in the heat of the moment. We're very sorry that was the result of what happened," Stone told the publication. "Unfortunately, some employees were sick over the weekend, so there was only one person in the store. It startled him. He regrets it terribly. It's not who he is or who we are."

    However, a photo taken by local resident Fay Eastman-Adams quickly worked to shut down Stone's allegations and proved that the "employee" was actually the man himself.

    In her Facebook post, Eastman-Adams wrote that when she confronted Stone he simply brushed off the incident and explained to her "why he should be able to call them kids that derogatory racial slur." She did not offer details on his exact explanation.

    "I told him in 2018 that is beyond unacceptable!!!" Eastman-Adams wrote. "I went straight to security along with two other women to make my complaint against ignorant man. His shop should be shut down! We don't allow this sh*t here! Unacceptable!"

    Speaking to the Chronicle, Eastman-Adams and Aisha Weber, another resident who witnessed the altercation, stressed that none of the teens that Stone yelled at were stealing and that they'd only knocked over some items by accident.

    "I didn't see those kids running out with bags of popcorn," Eastman-Adams said. "He just didn't want them in the store."

    Weber told the outlet that Stone said "‘Get out of here n***ers,' and he was throwing his hands in the air. That came from his heart. That came from him. He didn't want those kids in the store from the beginning."

    Stone's decision to speak the truth followed a wave of negative reviews on the store's social media platforms, which were eventually deactivated, and Yelp.

    This incident comes as Starbucks prepares to shut down thousands of stores to hold a racial bias employee training session on May 29 in response to public backlash against an incident in which two black customers were arrested for waiting briefly at a table without buying anything.

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