UPDATE JULY 24:
Angry Orchard has fired the manager and security team responsible for racially profiling a Black doctor and her fiance in the middle of their proposal.
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, the brewing company said the incident over the weekend was “badly mishandled.”
“We reached out and spoke directly with the guest involved to express our sincerest apology and offered to make it right,” read the statement. “We badly mishandled the situation and our team overreacted.”
Additionally, the company terminated the manager, who was on-duty at the time, and the white security team members who accused the couple of stealing a T-shirt.
“We’re extremely embarrassed this happened and have taken the immediate steps to remove the manager who was on-duty from her role and replace members of the security team,” the statement continued.
Angry Orchard said they’ve personally apologized to the couple and want to ensure the public this incident will result in more training to make sure “everyone on our team, from cidermakers to security, [has] additional training in the areas of security awareness and unconscious bias to prevent something like this from happening in the future.”
PREVIOUS JULY 23:
A Black New York doctor says she, her fiancé, and their friends were racially profiled at the Angry Orchard brewery while the couple was in the middle of becoming engaged.
In a lengthy Facebook post shared on July 21, Cathy-Marie Hamlet detailed how her fiancé was interrupted mid-proposal by workers at the brewery over allegations of a shoplifted T-shirt.
Hamlet’s fiancé, whom she wants to remain anonymous, was celebrating his 40th birthday at the brewery when he decided to propose.
“A group of 8 of us went there to enjoy an afternoon with some hard cider,” Hamlet wrote. “My boyfriend walked me out to an empty table on the lawn, and before we could sit down, a young lady from security approached us and said to him, ‘I’m sorry sir, but I have to check you back pocket. I was told that you stole a T-shirt from the gift store.'”
Hamlet says her fiancé “emptied all of his pockets, while still trying to keep the ring box hidden.”
After seeing the man had nothing in his pockets, the employee left and the couple sat at the table.
This time, as Hamlet’s partner began proposing, he was interrupted again by the same employee.
“MID PROPOSAL, the same young lady from security walks back towards and says to me, ‘I’m sorry, I need to check your bag. I was told that he gave it to you, and you put it in your bag,'” Hamlet wrote. “Mind you, my bag isn’t even large enough to fit a T-shirt.”
Hamlet said she emptied her bag in front of the woman and asked why they were being targeted.
“Since this was the SECOND time she had walked over, I said, ‘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,’” Hamlet wrote.
“Of course, she said that that wasn’t the case,” Hamlet added.
Eventually, the woman left and her fiancé was finally able to pop the question.
“I say yes, of course. People started cheering. And then the other 6 our friends walked over to us to hug and congratulate us,” Hamlet said.
As Hamlet and her friends celebrated the news, the same security worker approached them and asked to check the bags of every person in the group.
“So at this point, the rest of security walks over and there’s 6 of them approaching us,” Hamlet wrote. “Of course my friends told them none of us stole a T-shirt from their establishment, at which point they started getting aggressive and saying that not only them, but also patrons saw my boyfriend steal the shirt and/or transfer it to me to put in my bag!! Another woman in security yelled to one of the male security guards, ‘Call the police! I saw you steal it.’"
Hamlet also said, “security started taking our pictures, recording video, and took a picture of my license plate number.” She posted photos of the staff members laughing and waving at the group.
In the end, Hamlet and her friends decided to leave “rather than be attacked by multiple security guards of Angry Orchard.”
“I have never been so humiliated in my life, myself and some of my friends left Angry Orchard in tears,” Hamlet added. “On what was supposed to be one of the best days of my life, I was chased out of Angry Orchard by security who followed us all the way to the parking lot.”
After the incident, Angry Orchard released a statement to PEOPLE saying: “We reached out and spoke directly with the guest involved to express our apology and offer to make it right. Our security team approached a group of guests based on what they thought was credible information at the time. We believe that we mishandled the situation and we’re now working on additional training for our team to prevent something like this from happening in the future. We’re deeply sorry. The situation didn’t reflect our values of respect and creating a welcoming environment for our guests.”
Hamlet also vowed never to support Angry Orchard products.
“Angry Orchard if you don’t want Black People buying your product or frequenting your establishment, then maybe put a sign on the door so that we know we are not welcome. I love hard cider, but Angry Orchard will never touch these lips again,” she wrote.
(Photo: asiseeit/Getty Images)
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