Other employees tried to downplay the incident, saying it occurred at an office Christmas party and someone had spiked the water cooler's bottle. "He's not usually like that", one co-worker said. "I would not peg him for being racist at all. He's friendly, always up for a chat if you stand around him. I mean sure, he's always been a bit edgy with his humour, and sometimes he runs a bit hot and cold, but nobody is perfect, right?"
When asked for comment, the water cooler referred all requests to a prepared statement:
"Firstly, I would like to apologise for any unintended insult or distress I may have caused. While I agree that what I did was inappropriate, in my defence I was not acting myself at the time and in no way do a condone or participate in this sort of behaviour. In discussions with management, we've agreed that it would be best for me to take some time and re-evaluate my position within this company after attending some classes and programs to help me. I've heard that there may be a fire extinguisher job opening soon, and I hope to dedicate my time to protecting others. Thank you."
The two printers seen in the photograph released to the media also tried to distance themselves from both the water cooler and the incident, saying they will print off a public statement soon, but pointed to their long history of supporting all colours and not just black and white. While making a brief defence of their role, they stress that they don't really know the water cooler and 'only see him around the office now and again', but never communicate with him.
Both, however, have been accused of being tone deaf by not condemning the actions of the water cooler at the time. Further comment has been sought from management.