Old Navy employee fired from Toronto mall after alleged racial profiling incident
An aggressive local retail worker who accused a black woman of stealing (and then followed her around Mississauga's Square One Shopping Centre) has been fired from her job at Old Navy, and is now being lambasted across the internet after what many believe was an incident of racial profiling.
Lisa Calderon uploaded several videos to her personal Facebook account on June 10 of an intense altercation that had taken place earlier in the day between herself and an Old Navy employee named Stephanie.
"I was racially profiled in Old Navy at Square One Shopping Centre today," she wrote. "I felt uncomfortable so instead of exchanging my merchandise there or buying the white dress I tried on, I decided to go somewhere else, I even went as far as to voice my concern to staff before leaving the store."
It was after she left Old Navy and went into a nearby shoe store that the real trouble began.
I was racially profiled in Old Navy at Square one shopping centre today, I felt uncomfortable so instead of exchanging my merchandise there or buying the white dress I tried on, I decided to go somewhere else, I even went as far as to voice my concern to staff before leaving the store, (which at this point I would’ve understood if she asked about my shirt). Then when I was at Browns looking for shoes, a staff by the name of Stephanie said she seen that I did not walk into the store with my top on, and they saw it on camera, and that I still had the price tag on it, she then proceeded to put her hands on me in front of security guard Quesada 10830909, after getting very irate they advised her to let go, I went back to the store and had to wait, after she already said she previously seen the video. Her manager Gillian Pike than apologized, took my info after approx 15mins and said they would get back to me with the district store manager. Guys I cried cause I never thought in a million years this would happen to me. I would’ve been more calm and understanding if she didn’t accuse me first, and would’ve been happy to show my receipt, especially because I voiced my racial profile complain to the employee before I left the store. This needs to stop, Stephanie had no Right to aggressively lay her hands on me and accuse me of stealing a $13 dollar top, had she not have done that this situation would’ve ended quietly. #OldNavy #OldNavyCanada #Racism #shoppingwhileblack #RacialProfiling #InShock #Angry
Calderon says that Stephanie came into Browns while she was shopping and accused her of stealing the shirt she had on from Old Navy. Stephanie alleged that she had video proof of the incident, but did not, and grabbed Calderon's arm.
Despite repeated requests for Stephanie to let go of her arm, an irate Calderon remained locked in place, filming as nearby security guards simply watched everything go down.
a little torn with this one. You walk in an Old Navy store with their shirt which still has the tag on it, and you don’t expect to be questioned?? Also, if Stephanie would have grabbed my arm like that, she would have been slapped into Walmart!!— Trysten Hill’s escort (@nydia113) June 13, 2019
A third video uploaded that same day ends with an Old Navy manager apologizing profusely for Stephanie's behaviour. Calderon says that the manager took down her information and promised to get back to her.
Between them, the videos now have more than a million views on Calderon's Facebook page alone.
Stephanie from @OldNavyCa in @ShopSquareOne. She attacked a black woman, #RaciallyProfiled & forcibly confined her. Not in the Old Navy store she actually left her employment to then follow, harass and attack the victim in the mall. #Racism #OldNavy #SquareOne #ShoppingWhileBlack pic.twitter.com/utRONXoWCV— Anya Nicola (@FulFigurBeauty) June 11, 2019
"Guys I cried cause I never thought in a million years this would happen to me. I would've been more calm and understanding if she didn't accuse me first, and would've been happy to show my receipt, especially because I voiced my racial profile complaint to the employee before I left the store," wrote Calderon of the experience on Facebook.
"This needs to stop. Stephanie had no right to aggressively lay her hands on me and accuse me of stealing a $13 dollar top, had she not have done that this situation would've ended quietly. #OldNavy #ShoppingWhileBlack #RacialProfiling #Canada #Racism."
Clips from the incident spread fast thanks to boosts from high-profile social media accounts and website such as The Shade Room and Atlanta Black Star.
nice picture of a black family , but in reality this how Old Navy employees treat black customers. they even put their hands on them. I always shopped at Old Navy but am done with them after i saw this video. https://t.co/dwNi5qhqfj— جنكيز أفندي (@2bR3Rjy6sskhkGi) June 12, 2019
Old Navy Canada issued a formal apology Wednesday night after hundreds of people came to Calderon's defence and demanded the company do something.
"Old Navy was founded to be a place where everyone belongs. It's been a part of our culture and values since day one, and that makes it even more upsetting when incidents occur that don't reflect those values," wrote the Gap-owned American retailer in a statement.
"We are so sorry that our customer Lisa Calderon had an unacceptable experience in one of our stores, and we apologize for letting her down. We investigated quickly and thoroughly," the company continued.
"The employee involved in this situation is no longer with Old Navy. Our commitment to ensuring everyone who shops and works in our stores feels welcome and respected is a top priority. As part of our commitment, we have ongoing training for our employees and strict policies in accordance with our values."
Dear @OldNavy I just informed my teenager daughter that we will NOT be shopping in your store which by the way she USED to love. Thanks to #Stephanie— Big Al (@BigAl20115) June 13, 2019
Calderon herself, while understandably upset by the incident, seems pleased with the company's response.
"Old Navy’s District Manager called me, Stephanie is no longer with the Company," she wrote on Facebook Wednesday night.
"In addition, a national sensitivity training (possibly international), will be conducted with all employees. Thanks for your love and continued support, if you know me, you know that I really appreciate it."
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