On what was supposed to be one of the happiest days of their lives, a couple says they were racially profiled and "humiliated" at the brewery they were visiting with friends. Marie Cleone shared the story on her Facebook page, describing an afternoon that ended with her friends and new fiancé leaving Angry Orchard's New York brewery in tears.
As Marie's boyfriend began to propose, she says security approached the couple and asked him to empty his pockets because they believed he stole a t-shirt from the brewery's gift shop. "My boyfriend then emptied all of his pockets, while still trying to keep the ring box hidden from my sight," she wrote.
Shortly after, the security guard returned "mid-proposal" to ask to inspect Marie's bag. As Marie later notes, we're talking about a $28 t-shirt—not exactly grounds to interrupt one of the most important moments of someone's life. Marie says she told the women, "I know you’re just doing your job, but I can’t help but wonder if this is because we’re Black. We’re the only Black people here at your establishment." She wrote, "Of course, she said that that wasn’t the case."
After the couple finally got through their undoubtedly frustrating proposal, their friends joined them—and were then reportedly asked to be searched as well. The group ultimately decided to leave after security "started taking our pictures, recording video and took a picture of my license plate number," Marie says.
Angry Orchard has since released the following statement on its own Facebook page, apologizing for the incident and announcing they have fired the security team and manager on duty.
As soon as we learned about this incident, we launched an investigation into what happened and got in touch directly with the guest involved to express our sincerest apology and offer to make it right. We recognize that we badly mishandled this situation and our team’s response was inexcusable. As of yesterday, we have replaced the security team members working that day and the manager who was on duty. We are initiating additional, mandatory training on security awareness and unconscious bias for everyone on staff to prevent something like this from happening in the future.
We’re deeply sorry that our guests were mistreated. This event does not reflect our company values of respect for all and creating a welcoming environment for our guests, and while we wish it didn’t occur at all, we are treating this moment as a valuable learning experience for our staff.
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