A security guard at Toronto's Pearson airport has been suspended pending an investigation after making offensive remarks to a Muslim cab driver that were captured on a cellphone video.
The video was shot just before 11 p.m. ET Wednesday night during what appears to be a confrontation between the guard and taxi drivers at Pearson's Terminal 1.
On the video, which was sent to CBC News, the guard accuses a taxi driver of being a "scooper," a term used to describe cabbies who illegally solicit fares from inside the terminal.
The security guard swears, calls the driver a "bad guy" and accuses him of "harassing" passengers waiting in line for a taxi.
At some point, the person shooting the video is identified as a Muslim. The guard responds by saying, "I don't give a damn," and goes on to make offensive remarks about the Prophet Muhammad, a revered and holy figure to Muslims.
Guard could face disciplinary action
Alan Cakehead, a manager at ASP Security, confirmed to CBC News on Thursday that his company is investigating a complaint about the incident. Cakehead said he spoke to three people at the airport who filed a complaint.
"ASP has a strict human rights policy," Cakehead said in a statement to CBC News. "If we find through our investigation that there has been a violation of that policy, disciplinary action will be taken. That may include dismissal."
He said the security guard has been suspended without pay while the investigation takes place. Unifor, the union representing the security guard, has also become involved.
'It's just not acceptable,' cab drivers say
A group of taxi drivers who spoke to CBC News Wednesday night said it's unacceptable that an airport security guard would make such remarks.
"All of a sudden, this security guy in uniform … he calls your prophet a bad name, it's just not acceptable," said one driver.
"To talk about someone's religion, and bring their prophet into it is very wrong," said another driver. "We are very disappointed and hurt from what we have heard."
A spokesperson from the Greater Toronto Airport Authority referred all inquiries from CBC about the incident to ASP Security and said airport officials are looking into what happened.