The Chief Executive Officer of the Napa Valley Wine Train did the right thing Tuesday and apologized to 11 black women who were unceremoniously ushered off the Wine Train last weekend for allegedly talking too loud.
The incident has gone viral on social media and has sparked discussions on Black radio and mainstream media with some people claiming the women were treated shabbily because they were Black while others thought they were playing the ‘race card’ until witnesses on the same train supported them and stories of other groups being shushed but not thrown off the Wine Train in other trips were revealed.
There’s no doubt that Wine Train officials moved quickly to suppress a public relations disaster caused by a barrage of criticism, but now it’s clear that the women – which included an 83-year-old grandmother — were unfairly targeted by Wine Train staff.
“We were 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue,” Wine Train CEO Anthony “Tony” Giaccio said in a statement Tuesday. “We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests.”
Giaccio said in his statement that he had spoken to one of the women involved, Lisa Johnson, who shared the incident as it happened via her Facebook page, and apologized for the incident saying his company made “many mistakes and failures.”
“We pride ourselves our hospitality and our desire to please our guests on the Napa Valley Wine Train,” Giaccio said. “In this instance, we failed in every measure of the meaning of good service, respect and hospitality.”
But Johnson told reporters that she is still traumatized by the incident and told MSNBC.com that she does not accept the apology.
“It was humiliating. I’m really offended to be quite honest,” said Johnson, 47, who was among the 11 black women who were herded off the train and promptly met by railroad police. “I felt like it was a racist attack on us. I feel like we were being singled out.”
Johnson said members of her group, “Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club,” were targeted because they were simply “laughing while Black.”
There were so many ways Wine Train officials could have handled this situation, but forcing the women off the train, a group that included an 83-year-old grandmother, is deplorable and just bad business.
Wine train officials said the women were laughing too loud and were told three times to keep the noise down. Officials said the women were not drunk but ordered them off the train anyway, citing a standing policy about excessive noise. Train officials then posted this message on the Wine Train Facebook page.
Wine Train CEO Apologizes: ‘We Were 100 Percent Wrong’ [VIDEO] was originally published on blackamericaweb.com