American pharmaceutical company Merck is investigating after a noose was found at its plan in Durham, North Carolina, The News and Observer reports.
The newspaper reports that a contractor found “a rope fashioned as a noose” at a construction project at Merck’s 262-acre facility. The Durham site is one of two that were tasked earlier this year with manufacturing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
“Actions such as these will NOT be tolerated and individuals found committing such acts will be dealt with swiftly and severely,” management for the site said in an email to the News and Observer. “As a leadership team, we are disgusted that anyone on our plant site would engage in such behavior.”
Merck spokesman Patrick Ryan said in a statement, “We have zero tolerance for hate, racism, or discrimination in our workplace or society.”
This incident is similar to a recent one that occurred at an Amazon facility in Connecticut. Eight nooses were discovered at an Amazon warehouse, with the company temporarily shutting the facility down after the seventh was discovered in order to ramp up security measures. Local police and the FBI are also investigating the incidents as potential hate crimes.
“Hate, racism or discrimination have no place in our society and are certainly not tolerated in any Amazon workplace — whether it be under construction like this one, or fully operational,” a representative for Amazon told The Hill at the time.