Cincinnati bars, restaurants and stores are boycotting 50 Cent’s vodka line in response to a video of the rapper making fun of a worker with disabilities at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
The boycott campaign started Tuesday morning when Holy Grail Banks announced they will no longer serve Effen Vodka and urged others to follow suit. Within several hours, Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby, MOTR Pub, and Delhi Liquor Store vowed to shun the liquor line.
50 Cent was in town Saturday promoting his liquor brand at Jungle Jim’s International Market, which also pulled the vodka from its shelves in light of the video.
Curtis James Jackson III – a.k.a. 50 Cent – shared a now-deleted video on Sunday showing him accusing a CVG janitor of being high on drugs. The airport worker was later identified as Andrew Ferrell, who has Asperger's Syndrome, a hearing deficiency and social anxiety, according to his parents.
"Listen, the new generation is crazy," said the 40-year-old rapper in the Instagram video. "Look at him, what kind of s*** you think he took before he got to work today."
50 Cent’s social media accounts were flooded with people calling out the rapper, with one person writing "you just lost a huge fan."
He issued an apology Tuesday to the Andrew and the Ferrell/Kramer family saying, "While the incident at the airport resulted from an unfortunate misunderstanding, please accept my sincere apologies for offending you. It was certainly not my intent to insult you and I wish you and your family well."
Ferrell has worked at the airport for one month as a janitor – it’s his first job.
"Anytime someone says something negative to your children that is something hard to hear," said Andrews mother Amanda Kramer.
Ferrell said he initially had no idea that the rapper was making fun of him. But now he’s calling 50 Cent “a jerk.”
The Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:
"The Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati is proud to support individuals with autism and their families in our community. The actions of Curtis James Jackson III, a.k.a. Fifty Cent, toward Andrew Ferrell and his family are a reminder of how much work is needed to educate the community about the varied faces of the autism spectrum and to promote active inclusion and appreciation of individuals’ with autism. We are glad to see the community stepping forward to speak out against the video and Curtis James Jackson III’s behavior. We hope that this will spur a community dialogue on how we can work together to educate and promote active inclusion of persons with autism in every area of society."