The Jenkinson's Aquarium in New Jersey has fired the employee who was seen on video telling a group of Black girls they were not welcome in the store.
Jenkinson's Aquarium media director Toby Wolf confirmed the employee's removal from the company and said new training will take place.
"We are committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving our culture of diversity and inclusion. Jenkinson’s will also be conducting a diversity training program for its employees in the very near future to avoid this type of occurrence in the future," Wolf told the Asbury Park Press in a statement.
"In our 90-year history, Jenkinson’s has always been and will continue to be the place where people from all races, religions, ages, genders and cultures are welcome," he added.
An employee at a New Jersey aquarium gift shop has been suspended after appearing in a viral video where she threw several young Black girls out of her store, even after they came back with a chaperone as she requested.
The employee, who works at Jenkinson's Aquarium gift shop, was recorded in the video on Friday afternoon. Attiyya Barrett posted the video of the incident, and it quickly went viral. It all began when a group of Black girls from Princess to Queenz, Barrett's outreach group which provides weekly field trips, mentoring seminars and tutoring, went into the gift shop during a trip.
Shortly after they entered, a woman, who Barrett later identified as the store "owner," kicked the girls out of the store and insisted they return with a chaperone.
However, even when they returned with a 32-year-old chaperone, the woman allegedly told the group they were "not welcome here."
In the video, the employee said she didn't know their chaperone was an adult.
After the video went viral, Jenkinson's Pavilion released a statement that said discrimination of any kind was not tolerated by the company.
"We strive to provide all of our customers with an enjoyable experience and we clearly missed the mark this time," Jenkinson's marketing director, Toby Wolf, said in an email to USA Today. "We sincerely apologize to the girls from the camp group for the way they felt upon leaving. We have been in contact with the group leader and will continue to work with her to make amends."
While many people believed the store owner kicked the girls out because they were Black, some had different opinions.
"I think this is crazy. The lady never insinuated that because they were 'black' they must leave," Jayne Reynolds McCarter wrote on the Asbury Park Press Facebook page. "She wanted them to leave because they were unsupervised. I'm sure, being in the business she is in, she gets her fair share of teens running rampant and causing trouble."
"The second the girls came back with the chaperone, that should have been the end of the issue. Point blank," commented Talia Nielsen. "They shouldn't have been asked to leave again."
(Photo: Vostok/Getty Images)
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