2nd noose found at Merck vax plant

June 15, 2021

Merck has spoken out after a second noose was found on a construction site at the company’s vaccine facility in Durham, North Carolina.

“We have zero tolerance for hate, racism or discrimination,” the company said in a statement.

A noose was first found on May 24, prompting plant management to send an email to employees saying that those types of actions would not be tolerated. On June 7, a second noose was discovered, and local authorities are now involved.

According to local media, no witnesses with information about the nooses have been found and the investigation is ongoing.

Although it’s unclear why the nooses were found at Merck’s 262-acre facility, nooses have long been associated with lynchings and used to intimidate Black people in America. 

Merck has also had one of the most prominent Black CEOs in America, Ken Frazier, at its helm since 2011 (although Frazier has announced his retirement).

In an emailed statement, Frazier and President Rob Davis told employees: “Merck leaders are meeting with employees at the site to provide support, and to emphasize our zero-tolerance policy. We also have put enhanced safety and security measures in place to protect our employees in Durham.”