State Rep. Erica Thomas (D-Ga.) is facing allegations that she fabricated part of her claim that a man racially harassed her at a supermarket, following the man’s strong denial of her claim.
Thomas accused Eric Sparkes of telling Thomas to go back to where she came from, but Sparkes denies the charge.
“This white man comes up to me and says, ‘You lazy son of a [expletive].’ He says, ‘you lazy son of a [expletive]. You need to go back where you came from,’” Thomas said in a viral Facebook video regarding an alleged incident at a Publix supermarket in Mableton, Georgia, where Thomas was involved in a dispute in the express line.
Sparkes appeared unexpectedly to defend himself at Thomas’s live televised press conference outside the supermarket, identifying himself as a Cuban Democrat and maintaining that he didn’t tell Thomas to go back where she came from.
According to Fox News, Sparkes “acknowledged calling Thomas ‘a lazy [expletive]’ because she had taken too many items to the express checkout lane.”
Thomas then changed details of her story in a Channel 2 interview conducted after the divisive press conference, saying, “I don’t want to say he said, ‘Go back to your country,’ or ‘Go back to where you came from.’ But he was making those types of references is what I remember.” Thomas then denied backtracking on her claim at another press conference on July 22.
Derrick Tompkins, a Publix cashier and witness to the confrontation, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “I’m not going to say that wasn’t said, but I don’t remember hearing it. I’m going to leave it at that.”
Reached for comment, Eric Sparkes told The Epoch Times that he is no longer conducting interviews but pointed to a statement confirming that he is “in the process of exploring with attorneys a defamation lawsuit against her.”
Thomas has a history of making racism allegations in public. For instance, in a July 13, 2018, tweet, she accused a pool boy of racism.
“At the pool @Westin and after the waitress ask the Caucasian people on both sides of me for their order and skipped over me minutes later the pool boy ask me for my room key. This cannot be real right now. I am a guest too right. #racist,” Thomas tweeted.
In the wake of her accusation against Sparkes, dozens of tweets were posted in response to her 2018 tweet, mocking her, saying she was not believable, was creating a race hoax, and so on. One tweet noted that hotel servers frequently ask for guests’ room keys in order to make charges to a guest’s room.
At the pool @Westin and after the waitress ask the Caucasian people on both sides of me for their order and skipped over me minutes later the pool boy ask me for my room key. This can not be real right now. I am a guest too right. #racist
— Erica Thomas (@itsericathomas) July 13, 2018
“I doubted her story from the beginning. I call her the Jussie Smollett of Georgia,” national Tea Party co-founder Debbie Dooley told The Epoch Times, pointing to Thomas’s reputation in the Peach State stemming from the pool tweet.
Thomas’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.