UPDATE: Victoria's Secret has since published a statement regarding the incident. In an email, Vice President of Communications Tammy Roberts Myers wrote, on behalf of the company,
Victoria’s Secret is adamant that all of our customers, regardless of race, be treated with dignity and respect at all times. Our customers' recent experience at our Quintard Mall store should not have happened, and it does not represent who we are or what we stand for. We are meeting directly with associates to provide further training to reinforce our inclusion values, our policies and our commitment to ensuring all Victoria’s Secret customers feel welcome and respected in our stores. We have talked with the customers this happened to and expressed our deepest apologies. The store associate involved in this matter is no longer employed with the company.
It's hard to believe this is still happening in the modern United States, but it is, in fact, happening: Two black women were allegedly kicked out of a Victoria's Secret in Oxford, Ala., simply for being black.
The blatant act of racism was documented by Kimberly N. Houzah, who posted a Facebook Live video.
At the start of the clip, you can hear the other black woman asking the manager for her full name, and the manager refuses to give it.
"I just need you all to go," she can be heard telling the women.
"Why?" the other woman asks, totally baffled.
"Completely furious, I could literally cry," Houzah says to the camera. "I'm in Victoria's Secret in the Oxford mall." Houzah pans in to the manager in the background, who's wearing a gray sweater.
Houzah and the other woman were allegedly not given a reason for the removal, but it's obvious. She later reveals she and the other black woman did not enter the store with the shoplifter, and that the manager even called the police.
“She didn’t check my bag,” Houzah said of the manager. “She didn’t accuse me of stealing, but because I’m black and another black person happened to get caught stealing, we got to be affiliated.”
Houzah's distress is clear, and it's difficult not to tear up right along with her.
"I love everybody anyway," she says at the end of the clip. "But Victoria's Secret will never, ever see another one of my coins. Ever."
Houzah and 20 friends and local supporters returned to the store to peacefully protest the racist incident and ask for an apology, but the manager in question was not present. Since then, Houzah has reportedly received an apology from a parent company of the mall and a Victoria's Secret spokesperson confirmed they have intentions to make a statement soon. No disciplinary action has yet been taken against the employee who racially profiled the customers and forced them to leave.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters