Gabourey Sidibe has received an apology from Chanel after a possible racial profiling incident that took place at one of their stores in Chicago.
According to an essay, written by Sidibe and posted on Lenny Letter, Gabourey recently visited a Chanel store in search of a new pair of eyeglasses. On her way to the Chicago store, which is located near her apartment she is staying in while filming Empire, her co-star Taraji P. Henson called and asked if she would pick her up some sandals. Of course, Gabourey said yes, and continued on to the store. When she arrived, however, she was shocked at the way she was treated by one of the employees. When Sidibe asked about their selection of eyeglasses, the employee told her they only had shades, and she would need to go across the street to a different store if she wanted eyeglasses frames. Gabourey explained that she wanted Chanel frames, but was again told to go to the other store.
“I knew what she was doing,” she wrote. “She had decided after a single look at me that I wasn’t there to spend any money. Even though I was carrying a Chanel bag, she decided I wasn’t a Chanel customer and so, not worth her time and energy.”
— E! News (@enews) May 13, 2017
Gabourey added, “No matter how dressed up I get, I’m never going to be able to dress up my skin color to look like what certain people perceive to be an actual customer. Depending on the store, I either look like a thief or a waste of time. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground between no attention and too much attention.”
Although she felt like she was being treated unfairly, Sidibe still had to get Taraji’s sandals, so she asked the employee where they were. The employee reportedly reluctantly walked her further back in the store, and then explained that their shades double as eyeglasses, and asked if she would like to see what they had in stock. Gabourey said it was only when the employee realized she intended on spending money in the store that she decided to treat her like an actual customer instead of a nuisance.
— Lenny (@lennyletter) May 9, 2017
“I bought two pairs of glasses and two pairs of sandals,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, I’m used to people giving me bad service. Honestly, if I walked out of every store where someone was rude to me, I’d never have anything nice. So yes. I spent my hard-earned money on the things I wanted from Chanel, and I’m certain that saleswoman got a commission for finally helping me.”
When Chanel heard about what had happened, they issued an apology to the Precious actor, and said they hoped she would continue to shop in their stores. Read their full apology below.
“Chanel expresses our sincerest regret for the boutique customer service experience that Ms. Sidibe mentioned in this essay. We are sorry that she felt unwelcome and offended.
“We took her words very seriously and immediately investigated to understand what happened, knowing that this is absolutely not in line with the high standards that Chanel wishes to provide to our customers.
“We are strongly committed to provide anyone who comes in our boutiques with the best customer service, and we do hope that in the future Ms. Sidibe will choose to come back to a Chanel boutique and experience the real Chanel customer experience.”
What do you think about the way Gabourey was treated at the Chanel store? Do you think the employee should have been fired? Does this sound like an instance of racial profiling? Leave your comments below.
[Featured Image by Richard Shotwell/AP Images]