While in Cincinnati promoting Effen vodka, he began berating a young man working at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Not content with keeping this one-sided exchange to himself, the rapper whipped out his cell phone and began filming it, eventually posting it on his Instagram account, which has just under ten million followers.
"What kind of shit you think he took before he got to work today?" 50 Cent ponders in the video. "He high as a motherfucker right here in the airport, pupils dilated, everything… the new generation is fucking crazy!"
That young man turned out to be Andrew Farrell, a 19-year-old high school graduate who suffers from both Asperger's syndrome and severe hearing loss, according to local news media outlet Cincinnati.com. So while 50 Cent took Farrell's unresponsiveness as a sign of being intoxicated, it turned out to be a pretty normal response from a man who suffers from both social and auditory disabilities.
But that was only the beginning of Curtis James Jackson III's most recent saga of offending people. As the video went viral, Cincinnati businesses, led by a local bar named the Holy Grail, began boycotting Effen as an F-you to the rapper.
In response to 50 Cent berating a man w/ Autism, we will be boycotting @effenvodka and challenge others in Cincy to do the same !
— Holy Grail (@holygrailbanks) May 3, 2016
Shortly after, the Holy Grail's call to action began to pick up steam with other businesses. Even Jungle Jim's – the Cincinnati food market where 50 Cent had showed up in person to promote Effen – followed suit. While this incident has garnered plenty of attention for 50 Cent and the vodka he shamelessly endorses, it's probably not what Effen had in mind when they took him on as a spokesman for an undisclosed amount of money.
According to reports, Farrell's family has hired a lawyer, though it was not to file a lawsuit against 50 Cent, as many had assumed, but rather to force him to apologize. Unlike his past missteps, 50 Cent took the unprecedented step of removing the video from Instagram and actually apologized for his actions, issuing the following statement:
"While the incident at the airport resulted from an unfortunate misunderstanding, I am truly sorry for offending the young man. It was certainly not my intent to insult him or the disability community, which is a source of great strength in America. I have apologized personally to him and his family."
Farrell's parents have called on supporters to donate to autism-related charities.