Boeing Co., which previously called a noose found at its North Charleston campus a "racially charged symbol," described the item as a "knotted string" in court documents filed this week in a discrimination case.
Curtis Anthony, an African American employee who has worked at Boeing since 2011, filed a lawsuit in federal court last month claiming he was targeted for racial harassment that included workers hanging a noose above his desk at the 787 Dreamliner plant.
Boeing in March confirmed it found a noose hanging in the aft-body section of its plant off International Boulevard. The foot-long noose was made of thin, nylon material and differed from the thick-roped, hangman's noose typically associated with racist symbolism.
Following an investigation, Boeing fired the worker responsible for the noose.
"I am saddened and angered that a racially-charged symbol was discovered on site," Brad Zaback, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, said at the time.
In an answer to Anthony's lawsuit filed this week, Boeing appeared to downplay the racial overtones, saying it "admits only that a knotted string, which (Anthony) calls a noose, was reported to the company."
Boeing added the noose was not found near Anthony's work area.
A Boeing spokesman declined to comment beyond information included in court documents.
Anthony's lawyer, Donald Gist of Columbia, could not be reached for comment.
Boeing's court filing also addresses Anthony's allegation that white employees harassed him by urinating on his work desk and chair numerous times.
Boeing said white employees, including a manager, also reported people urinating in their work areas, suggesting the practice was not limited to a single incident or race.
Boeing has asked a federal judge to dismiss several of Anthony's allegations, including claims of breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The company said it plans to fight the other discrimination-related allegations and denies any wrongdoing.
In a statement last month, Boeing called Anthony a “valued" employee, but added “there is no validity to his allegations.”
Anthony is asking for a jury trial and unspecified financial damages. No court date has been set.