Hornets, Knights follow Panthers in ending partnership with CPI Security after CEO’s protest remarks

Hornets, Knights follow Panthers in ending partnership with CPI Security after CEO’s protest remarks
This is an exterior rendering of the new Spectrum Center signage (Courtesy of the Charlotte Hornets)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte Hornets and Charlotte Knights, along with several Charlotte-based businesses, have ended their partnership with CPI Security in the wake of an email that was sent to a local community group from the company’s CEO.

Jorge Millares, leader of the Queen City Unity organization, shared an email sent to him by CPI Security Ken Gill in regard to his call for action in response to killings of black people such as George Floyd by police.

On Facebook Friday, Millares said the reaction to his email was overwhelmingly positive, except from CPI Security’s Ken Gill.

In an email to Millares, Gill said, “Please spend your time in a more productive way. A better use of time would be to focus on the black on black crime and senseless killing of our young men by other young men.”

“Have a great day, Ken Gill,” the CEO ended his email.

Millares posted Gill’s response on Facebook that because of Gill’s “insensitive and racist comments,” Queen City Unity is calling for a boycott of CPI – #BoycottCPI. Queen City Unity is a nonprofit that says on its website that its mission is to drive equity and equality for all in Charlotte.

The Panthers ended their relationship with CPI Security on Saturday. North Carolina State, South Carolina and the Hornets followed suit on Sunday.

The Hornets released this statement:

“Our chairman has been very clear about his thoughts surrounding the issues of racial equality, social justice and diversity. Hornets Sports & Entertainment shares these values. As a result, we believe it is appropriate at this time to end our partnership with CPI. We notified CPI CEO Ken Gill of our decision earlier today. Across our organization from our ownership, to our players, to our staff, we are fully committed to improving racial equality, social justice, diversity and access to education throughout our community.”

The Knights released this statement:

“As the Charlotte Knights are committed to inclusion and diversity, we were very disappointed to hear of the recent comments made by a representative of CPI Security. As such, effective immediately, we are ending our partnership with CPI which includes sponsorship and branding within our ballpark and on various media platforms. We stand with those in our community and across the country who are working to affect change to bring an end to racism and discrimination.”

Bojangles’ released this statement:

Bojangles stands against racism and injustice of any kind. In light of recent comments made by CPI Security’s CEO, Bojangles will end our relationship with the company. We have informed CPI Security of our decision and will begin the transition of our Charlotte Support Center and more than 300 company-owned restaurants as quickly as possible.

The Durham Bulls released this statement:

“CPI is not a current sponsor of the Durham Bulls and we will not be pursuing partnership with them moving forward. All remaining signage from previous contracts is in the process of being removed.​ CPI’s sponsorship of the Bulls had not been renewed prior to the Minor League Baseball season being postponed in March and we will not be engaging with them about renewing that activity.”

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