MSU professor files lawsuit against world's largest retailer - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

MSU professor files lawsuit against world's largest retailer

BOZEMAN -

 A professor at Montana State University is taking on Walmart. Court documents, filed Thursday state that MSU professor Gilbert Kolande is suing the world's largest retailer for libel.  

Kalonde is currently working as an Assistant Professor of Technology and Education at MSU.

Court documents state in 2016, Kalonde, who was born in Zambia and is of African descent, purchased a fishing license at Walmart.

As a necessary part of obtaining a fishing license, the licensing agent, in this case the Walmart employee is required to ask for identification and occupation.

Kalonde told the Walmart employee his occupation was "faculty/professional." However, instead of putting down his correct occupation, the Walmart employee allegedly entered "cleans toilets" into the FWP database.    

Kolande alleges the entry made was "deliberately false" and done with the purpose of exposing Kolande to "hate and ridicule."

Bozeman is a hub for fishermen and woman, some to whom I spoke say they are shocked by the licensing agent's alleged actions.

Bozeman resident Jack Ranieri said, "I mean, it's an insult to say the least, where they came up with that is crazy for a college professor."

While another Kit Williams disagreed, "Whether he has a case or not, I’m not sure. But I know that I think he should get over his own ego because I think there is a lot of good toilet cleaners and there just as much of a necessity as doctors."

Court records show, Kolande told a faculty employee that where he's from someone who cleans toilets is often "shunned" from society."

Jim Taylor, Kolande's Legal Director at the ACLU says they have tried to reach out to Walmart for a settlement.

Taylor stated, "They haven't really responded for settlement negotiations, we have tried to resolve this in a very simple way.”

Taylor also says, in addition to the libel claim, they have filed a racial discrimination claim with the Human Rights Bureau. 

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