Victoria’s Secret has apologized for racial profiling after it was reported that a black woman was asked to leave an Alabama store with no explanation.
“We take the experience of our customer at the Quintard Mall very seriously and have reached out to her directly to express our sincere apology,” Victoria’s Secret wrote in a Facebook post following the incident.
“What happened at our store should not have happened and does not represent who we are or what we stand for. The store associate involved in this matter is no longer employed with the company. Victoria’s Secret is adamant that all customers regardless of race be treated with dignity and respect at all times.”
The incident reportedly took place on December 7, when traveling nurse Kimberly Houzah decided to stop in the store for to do a little shopping. While she was there, the manager, known only as Faith, caught another black woman shoplifting, and decided to ask all the black women in the store to leave. It was then that Houzah decided to go live on Facebook to share what was happening.
“Completely furious, I could cry,” Houzah could be heard saying in the video. “There was another black female in here who got caught stealing … so [Faith] asks me and another black female to leave because, she can’t tell us why, but we’re kicked out [of] the store.”
Victoria’s Secret issues apology to a black woman after she recorded herself being profiled https://t.co/01vRZKmiYI
— Terry. (@WrittenByTerry) December 9, 2016
Houzah went on to explain what was going on, revealing that another black woman had been caught shoplifting, and then she and another black woman were quickly asked to leave the store. The manager didn’t ask to check their bags, and simply told them they needed to get out of there. Houzah said she told the manager that she wasn’t with the woman who was stealing, and hadn’t even come in the store with her- they just happened to be at the same place at the same time. Despite this, Kimberly says she was still told to leave.
“We didn’t even come in the store together. We just happened to be in there at the same time,” she said through tears. “Folks done made it OK to be publicly racist and say and do what they want.”
“You don’t want to be the type of person that feels like everybody is racist, and I don’t think everybody is racist. But I’m trying to understand why because we just happened to be three black women at Victoria’s Secret, that we gotta be together. I mean, it ain’t like we walked in the store together [or] were shopping around together.”
Houzah’s video quickly went viral with over one million views, and nearly 30,000 shares, prompting Victoria’s Secret to offer their sincerest apologies. According to AL.com, Kimberly also went back to the Quintard Mall, and received an apology from a worker at the store, but not the one who had kicked her out.
Here’s what the pain of racial profiling looks and sounds like at a victoria’s secret in oxford, alabama:https://t.co/TQRhjHX11E
— LaDoris Cordell (@judgecordell) December 10, 2016
“I’m a little more settled about it today,” she said. “I don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone. I mean, I can’t change who I am. I’m an African-American female and I just want to be treated like everybody else.”
Kimberly said she plans to continue shopping at Victoria’s Secret, however she admits she probably won’t be visiting that location again.
What do you think about the Victoria’s Secret manager racially profiling customers? Do you think the apology was adequate? What would you have done if you were Kimberly? Leave your comments below.
[Featured Image by Northfoto/ Getty Images]