Woman Behind Viral Michaels Tirade Stands Behind Her Reaction - NBC Southern California
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Woman Behind Viral Michaels Tirade Stands Behind Her Reaction

In the weeks that have followed the video’s release, the 29-year-old Lakeview resident said she has been attacked on social media and called “racist” and “unhinged” for her comments

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    After her tirade at a Michael's store went viral, a Chicago woman breaks her silence in an exclusive interview with NBC 5's Ash-har Quraishi. (Published Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017)

    Watch the full interview in the video clips below.

    It has been nearly two months since video showing a woman’s tirade at a Chicago Michaels store went viral, but now the woman at the center of the footage that quickly took over the Internet, broke her silence. 

    “This wasn’t about race, this was not about political views, this was about very poor customer service and being told to leave without warning,” Jennifer Boyle said in an exclusive interview with NBC 5 that aired Tuesday. 

    In the weeks that have followed the video’s release, the 29-year-old Lakeview resident said she has been attacked on social media and called “racist” and “unhinged” for her comments. 

    How did the situation escalate to the point we saw on video?

    The video, seen more than 4.5 million times, shows Boyle yelling repeatedly at a black employee at a Lakeview store and telling one employee to “shut your face.”

    Boyle says an employee discriminated against her and mumbled that she must have voted for Donald Trump, but the employee is heard in the video denying that assertion. 

    “And I voted for Trump, so there,” she said in the footage. “What? You want to kick me out because of that? And look who won. Look who won.” 

    Why not leave? Why not get out of the situation?

    Now, at the start of 2017, Boyle said she regrets not leaving the store and ending the situation before her viral tirade. 

    “Looking at it now, I think that would have been the right thing to do,” she said. “I really believe that it was fight or flight kicked in and I felt that I needed to defend myself.” 

    If you had to do it over again, you would have handled it differently?

    Boyle maintains that she was discriminated against, and confirmed that the incident started over a reusable bag. 

    Witnesses have argued the employees “did nothing to provoke this verbal attack and in fact treated all customers with professionalism and courtesy.”

    "I wish I would have just been above, cooler heads prevail, been above reproach and would have just left and called corporate like I did do on Friday," she said. 

    A few days later another video surfaced, at Peet's coffee. Do you think you have an issue with dealing with your anger?

    The Michaels video wasn’t the first footage of Boyle in a heated diatribe to be posted online. A similar video showed her in a verbal altercation at a Peet’s Coffee in the city’s Boystown neighborhood months earlier. 

    “Oh my God you’re a floor manager and you call people a b----, you’re a b----,” she is seen shouting. “I was treated like crap, Bobby.” 

    But Boyle claims this isn't a pattern.

    "I do not believe that I have an issue dealing with my anger," she said. "I believe that again, taking the high road and walking away from situations in that matter. What people don’t know is what was said to me at Peet’s."

    This wasn't the end of this. What's happened since then?

    Boyle called the backlash from the video “very scary” and “very difficult.” Her home address, cell phone number and email address were all published online, leading to what she described as lewd calls, vulgar emails and death threats. 

    “There’s not one bone in my body that’s racist or homophobic,” she said. “And that’s the bottom line.” 

    Are you sorry about anything you said in the videos?

    But still, Boyle refuses to apologize for what happened that November day and stands by what she said. 

    “I believe that I stood up for myself,” she said. “Again, everybody is a work in progress. We’re all human and I really believe that being above reproach is the way to be from now on.” 

    What was your reaction to the Michael's employee receiving more than $30K via a GoFundMe page? 

    Soon after the video was posted, a GoFundMe campaign aimed at helping the employee who became the target of Boyle’s tirade raised more than $32,000, well above its goal of $400. 

    In a letter to those that donated to the campaign, the store manager identified only as Holli wrote "you have all single handedly changed my life."

    "I've tried to be kind, I've tried to be fair, I've tried to share regardless if I was able to," the letter read. "I want others to smile when I smile back at them. Knowing deeply we all have a higher purpose."

    Michaels said in a statement it does not “tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind against our team members or customers.” 

    “We regret that our customers and team members were affected by this unfortunate incident and are grateful for the leadership of our store team in working to resolve it without further escalation,” the statement read. 

    The company also tweeted later, “We appreciate the outpouring of support for our Chicago-based team member.”

    Will there be another Jennifer Boyle video?

    "No. Other than what men have posted about me on YouTube and the disgusting, derogatory, crude videos that people have created about me, no there won't be."