Couple Says They Were Racially Profiled at Hudson Valley Business
Chuck Merrihew for Townsquare Media of the Hudson Valley
A doctor claims she was racially profiled while getting engaged at a Husdon Valley business.
On Sunday, Marie Cleone wrote on Facebook she, her boyfriend and six friends traveled from New York City to the Angry Orchard brewery in Walden to celebrate her boyfriend's 40th birthday. Cleone had no idea that her boyfriend planned to pop the question at Angry Orchard.
However, when the group arrived a security woman approached her boyfriend and asked to check his back pocket over allegations he stole a T-shirt from the gift store, according to Cleone.
Her boyfriend managed to empty out his pockets, while still hiding the engagement ring. After the security woman walked away, he started to propose.
"My boyfriend and I sat down at the table and he began his proposal speech. 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," Cleone wrote. "Mind you, my bag isn’t even large enough to fit a T-shirt. I emptied my entire bag in front of her, and 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.' Of course, she said that that wasn’t the case."
After the guard again found nothing, Cleone's boyfriend finished his proposal and Celone said yes.
"People started cheering. And then the other 6 our friends walked over to us to hug and congratulate us. Then surprise, surprise...the same young lady from security walks over to the group of us and says, 'I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you all were a part of the same party. I have to check all of your purses and pockets,'" Cleone wrote.
According to Cleone, six security guards surrounded the group and started to act "aggressive," saying other guests "saw my boyfriend steal the shirt and/or transfer it to me to put in my bag!!"
After the guards couldn't find anything, the group decided to leave.
"I have never been so humiliated in my life, myself and some of my friends left Angry Orchard in tears. 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. I’m sorry, and not to sound pretentious, but as a doctor, I have no reason to steal a $28 T-shirt when I could afford to buy ALL of the T-shirts in their gift shop. I implore Angry Orchard to ROLL BACK THEIR SECURITY FOOTAGE on July 21st, 2019 because they owe all 8 of us an apology. 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."
Angry Orchard told Hudson Valley Post they apologized and admitted they mishandled the situation.
"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," a spokesperson for Angry Orchard said in a statement.
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