Jambon doesn’t deny cursing or spitting at Worley, though he does deny striking the other women. Reached by phone by theGrio Monday, Jambon said the incident was the result of stress, and does not reflect his character.
“I just came through a horrible hurricane with 14 properties covered with water,” Jambon said. “I came from my brother being diagnosed with liver cancer that morning, one of my vessels colliding with a guy’s platform with two injuries … I’m very sorry about what happened. I was very stressed out.”
Jambon said that in a small town with “just 1,270 people,” everyone knows everyone, including the police chief. His company, Jambon Boat Rentals, has black employees, and he said his staff know that the person on that tape is not representative of him.
“I have offices all around the world and the majority of people I employ were all black,” Jambon said. “They’ve all come to me since then and said they know it’s not me, I just blanked.”
Jambon said he is not trying to “get out of the charges” against him, that he wants to “do the right thing and get what’s coming to” him, and he says he would like to meet face to face with Worley and apologize to her.
“I’m not looking for racial problems in the United States,” he said. “Don’t you think we’re divided enough right now? I know the media likes to take things like this and run with them… I’d like to apologize to the person and that’s it. From what I read on her profile she’s a very educated person and done very well with kids.”
He says the incident has “offended him.”
“I offended myself,” he said. “It was a horrible day. I mean 14 properties going under water. The company that was there had just pulled the entire wiring service out of my personal home on Grand Isle. I was under the stress. I just came through the BP oil spill — that is ground zero for the BP oil spill, I’ve lost tremendous amount of money. Before that it was hurricane Ike, Gustav…” But he quickly added, “there’s no reason for me to go off on anybody, there’s no excuse. I blanked. I was apologizing to the chiefs, the deputies, I apologized to the owner of the company. I wanted to apologize to the girl herself, but they didn’t want me to. I’m not trying to get out of any charges. I’m trying to do the right thing and get what’s coming to me. I didn’t not strike anybody. I did spit at her camera, and at her, I did not strike anybody.”
Worley said she hasn’t slept well since the incident, which she called “so humiliating.” And she remains “hurt” in her words, by the failure of the men she was working with to come to her and the other black women’s defense.
“”They didn’t say anything. I guess their reaction was: ‘I’m not in it. They’re talking to y’all. He didn’t say anything racial towards us.’ Towards the end of the video you even hear him saying, ‘and there’s not a man out here that’s going to do anything about it.’”
Asked if she is angry with those half dozen men — her coworkers — Worley said, “I don’t even know if I can say angry. Upset, hurt, disappointed. You think that as a woman, you’d think that the gentleman[ly] thing would be to say, don’t hit those women. Don’t hurt them, that’s not right. It wasn’t even a black or white thing for me, it was a human thing. Like, where is the integrity?”
But Worley is proud that she stepped forward to help the other two women, Norma Savoy and Madonna Reid, who Worley didn’t know before starting the job in Grand Isle.
“I was out there and to look at the other two women; I’m looking to them and I’m saying to myself they look like good people. Try to help. Try to do something. Film it, record it, somebody will believe me.”
Worley said she is not ready to talk about an apology.
“I didn’t even sleep the night that it happened,” she said. “I think I was exhausted the next day, mentally, physically, spiritually, because you know there’s racism out there but you don’t expect anything like that to happen, because you’re not racist, you’re not brought up that way. And then for something like that to happen…”