New York: An Indian-origin CEO was racially abused and told to "go back to India" and also take along Nikki Haley after he said that he will not support President Donald Trump's economic agenda after the US leader appeared to defend white supremacists following the Virginia violence.
US-born Ravin Gandhi, 44, founder and CEO of GMM Nonstick Coatings, a global supplier of coatings for cookware and bakeware, wrote an op-ed for CNBC following Mr Trump's Charlottesville remarks but was quickly trolled and racially abused by readers, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"I recently told the New York Times I was 'rooting' for certain aspects of Trump's economic agenda," Mr Gandhi wrote in the op-ed. "After Charlottesville and its aftermath, I will not defend Trump even if the Dow hits 50,000, unemployment goes to 1 per cent, and GDP grows by 7 per cent. Some issues transcend economics, and I will not in good conscience support a president who seems to hate Americans who don't look like him."
Hundreds of white supremacists clashed with counter-demonstrators at a rally in Charlottesville on August 12 in which a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 injured when a car drove into a crowd of protesters.
Mr Gandhi was soon bombarded by hate comments on his opinion piece, including a voicemail from a woman who said Mr Gandhi should "get your (expletive) garbage and go back to India".
The woman, using abusive and inappropriate language, told Mr Gandhi that he should also take "that other half-(expletive) Bangladesh (expletive) with you, Nikki Haley," referring to the US envoy to the UN.
"She's (Ms Haley) the one that started all this when she took down the Confederate flag. So don't tell us that you gave him a chance. We don't give a (expletive) who you gave a chance, OK? We're going to start taking down Buddhist statues and see how you and Nikki Haley like that," the woman said.
In the minute and a half voicemail she said Mr Gandhi should "go clean up your own (expletive) country, it's a filthy mess." Mr Gandhi posted the voicemail to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and shared some of the nastier emails he received as well, the report said.
"It was obvious that people thought my professional position somewhat protected me," he said. "I wanted to show people that racism is blind to socio-economics. It just is."
"Even though my race is a complete non-issue in my day-to-day life, the sad reality is there's a group of racists in the USA that views me as a second-class citizen," he said in the report.
"I wanted my peers in the business community, the civic community, my friend community to see that this can happen to me. Because there's this delusion that racism is dead because Obama was elected."
Mr Gandhi added that the fact that Mr Trump "equated hate groups with those protesting hate lit me up" as he called Mr Trump's moral leadership on the issue "reprehensible".
He said while his sharing a "bigoted" voicemail may not make a big difference, but he will speak out against such abuse as long as he has a platform to do so.
"My heroes are Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, people who stood up against insane odds. And let's be honest - I live in doorman-protected building in the Gold Coast. For me to say that I'm suffering in any real sense is insane. But many people in this city who don't have resources really are suffering."
"I know I'm on the right side of history here," he said. "That's how I sleep at night."