(POINT PLEASANT, N.J) — A New Jersey gift shop employee has been fired after she told seven black girls they were not welcome and ordered them to leave the store.
A video posted online showing part of the Aug. 10 incident at Jenkinson’s Aquarium Gift Shop in Point Pleasant Beach went viral, sparking outrage and making headlines across the country.
“The gift shop employee has been terminated effective immediately,” Jenkinson’s Boardwalk said in a statement Tuesday, while not naming the woman.
“This incident does not reflect the core values of the boardwalk. 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.”
Attiyya Barrett, the woman who had posted the video on Facebook, said Jenkinson’s actions were a step in the right direction.
“I’m very happy about that,” she told ABC News. “The girls are going to be very excited when I tell them.”
Barrett heads an organization, Princess to Queenz, that offers summer camps and tutoring programs for children. The seven girls were part of a group of 40 girls from Paterson, New Jersey, between the ages of 7 and 14, whom she and a few other adults had taken to the shore as part of a summer camp. Some of the girls were seeing the Jersey Shore for the first time.
The employee initially told the girls to come back with a chaperone but even after they did so, she told them to leave, Barrett said. “Meanwhile, there were other white girls unattended and playing with items and they were not asked to leave,” she added.
That’s when she stepped in and began recording the video. Her Facebook post of the video has been shared more than 72,000 times as of Wednesday morning.
In the video, as Barrett pans the camera from the girls’ faces to that of the employee, the employee tells her, “They’re not welcome in here.”
The girls were devastated by what happened, Barrett said, adding that they were crying and distraught on the long bus ride home. Such incidents are not new to the lives of black people, she said. “Honestly, I think that they just have never stopped,” she said.
“The difference now is social media. Now we’re able to capture these things on video and it just seems like they’re more prevalent. But in my opinion, that is what people of color deal with every day.”
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