HT Local News

Tech athlete disciplined after drive-thru dispute captured on video

By Asia Simone Burns, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga

Georgia Tech said it is disciplining a student-athlete from Alpharetta after a video of him cursing at two women in the drive-thru of a northwest Atlanta restaurant surfaced online.

The 66-second video shows Tech baseball player Charlie Benson berating the women and slinging politically charged insults at them after an alleged fender bender.

The women tagged the Georgia Tech baseball program in a Facebook post, saying they were “still shaking” after the incident.

According to the post, the women were in the drive-thru line at the Cookout on Northside Drive on Sept. 19, when another car bumped them from behind. One of the women got out of the car to get the driver’s information and “he immediately started yelling at us,” they said.

A passenger, identified as Benson, then got out of the car.

During the recorded confrontation, Benson denied hitting the women’s car. In the video, he can be heard repeatedly demanding the women point to where the cars touched.

“Where did it hit? Point to where it hit!” Benson said. “Get the (expletive) out of my face! Where’s the mark?”

When one of the women told him she “felt it,” Benson said, “That’s what all the (expletive) liberal (expletive) (expletive) say.”

Benson ultimately got back in the car and left.

The woman who recorded the exchange spoke to Channel 2 Action News. She asked the news station for anonymity due to online threats she has received.

“The aggression — the way he was flexing, and the way he was leaning into my partner, it was intimidating,” she said. “It was an act of intimidation, and the attacks he was using were politically charged.”

Benson on Wednesday apologized for the incident in a post on the Georgia Tech baseball team’s Facebook page.

“My immediate reaction to the situation was unacceptable and I am deeply sorry for the impact to those involved – there is simply no excuse,” the post said.

“This situation called for patience and my response in the moment did not reflect the standards to which I hold myself. Nor was my conduct representative of the values promoted by the coaches and other leaders at Georgia Tech. As a member of the Georgia Tech community, I understand that my actions should always uphold those values and I will strive to do so moving forward.”

To the woman who recorded the encounter, Benson’s apology seemed disingenuous, Channel 2 reported.

“Personally, it doesn’t feel like a genuine apology,” she told the news station. “I want there to be recognition of how damaging this type of behavior can be and how dangerous it can be for marginalized people.”

In a statement, Georgia Tech said it is “continuing to review” the situation, Channel 2 reported.

“The language used does not reflect the values of Georgia Tech athletics. Discipline for the student-athletes involved is being handled internally,” the statement said.

The school released no other details.

According to the website for Tech’s baseball team, Benson is a sophomore who appeared in 20 games as a pinch hitter or utility backup infielder in 2019.