Did “laughing while black” really get several women kicked off a wine train? The Napa Valley Wine Train company has responded to these allegations.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the controversy surrounding the incident jumpstarted the #LaughingWhileBlack hashtag on Twitter.
The whole “laughing while black” incident started when 47-year-old Lisa Johnson and 10 members of the Sisters on the Reading Edge book club were taking their annual trip through the wine country. Napa Valley Wine Train spokeswoman Kira Devitt told the San Francisco Chronicle that the company had the women kicked off the wine train after they “received complaints from several parties in the same car and after three attempts from staff, requesting that the group keep the noise to an acceptable level, they were removed from the train and offered transportation back to the station in Napa.”
The women then went on Twitter to complain about the incident, blaming the incident on racism and laughing while black.
All we were guilty of is #laughingwhileblack
— Lisa Renee Johnson (@calisarenee) August 23, 2015
Johnson said the Napa Valley Wine Train company needed sensitivity training due to the incident.
“They need to look at their own policies. I feel like we as a group were made to bear the consequences of their not having policy on seating their customers,” said Johnson, according to the Napa Valley Register. “They need to give sensitivity training to their staff immediately. We want a public apology for how they treated us and for the public humiliation, which is unacceptable for anybody.”
Devitt, however, said that having women kicked off their wine train for disruptive behavior was “not an uncommon occurrence.” The Napa Valley Wine Train rep said laughing while black had nothing to do with the decision.
“If guests are being severely disruptive, that’s when we discuss whether they should be removed,” said Devitt. “We don’t make that judgment unless we receive a complaint from the people around them.”
Napa Valley Wine Train spokesman Sam Singer also told the Los Angeles Times that racism, or laughing while black, was not an issue.
“It wasn’t an issue of bias,” Singer said. “It was an issue of noise.”
Still, the company does admit they suffered from “acute insensitivity” when they had the black women kicked off the wine train. According to KTLA, the company’s chief executive officer Anthony Giaccio did say they were “100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue” and he apologied for their “many mistakes and failures.” The Napa Valley Wine Train company is planning extra diversity training for its employees.
[Image via Lisa Johnson]