Real Estate Company Retracts Firing of Agent Accused of Racism in Video

A real estate company in North Carolina has reversed its decision to fire one of their workers seen in a viral video being accused of racial profiling after new information emerged.

The clip shows a confrontation between Keller Williams real estate broker Kim Barnhart and a group of people at a neighborhood swimming pool in Raleigh.

The clip shows Barnhart telling the group, who include two Black people and a Latina, that she knows some of them don't live in the area and that they shouldn't be drinking in the pool.

When asked how she knows that, Barnhart replies: "Because I was here when this neighborhood was built, and I know every single person who bought in here."

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The pool was closed to anyone but local residents as part of COVID-19 restrictions.

Raleigh resident Curt Hamilton posted the footage onto social media claiming that he was "racially profiled and thrown out of a neighborhood pool."

Hamilton said the police showed up at the scene but informed the woman that they were doing nothing wrong because the rules that people couldn't bring guests into the pool no longer applied as lockdown restrictions eased.

Barnhart defended her actions, saying she was only trying to enforce the rules regarding the pool.

"When I got there, there was a large group of teens I had not seen before, not one of them," Barnhart told WRAL. "I asked them who lived in the neighborhood, did any of them live in the neighborhood, and at that time, they all looked at each other, and nobody said that they did.

"They were mooning me, throwing up the middle finger," she said. "They're surrounding my car. I had to get into my car and roll up my windows, telling them, if they weren't going to listen to me, I'd have to get the police involved."

Barnhart also said it was "absolutely not true" that she made reference to any of the group's race or that she told them to "go home."

In a statement earlier this month, Keller Williams Raleigh said they were aware of the incident involving one of their agents.

"Each office is independently owned and operated and the Keller Williams agent in question is not affiliated with our firm. Keller Williams Raleigh stands against all social injustice and inequality," the statement said.

Barnhart was originally fired following an investigation by Keller Williams. Team leader Eric Anderson has now said the company is "retracting the termination of Kim Barnhart," after they received "some new information and video."

Anderson said the video showed that the people at the pool were breaking the rules and acting unruly. He added there was "absolutely no evidence" that Barnhart used any racial slurs against those at the pool.

"If you're doing something wrong, own it. Don't make up stories," Anderson said.
Keller Williams has been contacted for further comment.

However, in an updated statement to Newsweek, Keller Williams retracted the claims from Anderson regarding Barnhart returning to work, claiming it was given before a final decision was made.

"We have decided to disassociate with Kim Barnhart while we further investigate the facts on this matter," said Gina Benthuysen, CEO, Raleigh, NC-based Keller Williams Preferred, a Keller Williams brokerage.

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A hotel swimming pool in Palm Springs, California. A real estate company in North Carolina has decided not to cut ties with an agent accused of racial profiling in a video. Robert Alexander/Getty
Real Estate Company Retracts Firing of Agent Accused of Racism in Video | U.S.