Things That Matter

A Lawsuit Claims That Employees In San Diego-Area Albertsons Were Banned From Speaking Spanish

Albertsons is facing controversy after a new lawsuit claims the retailer forbid employees from speaking Spanish in San Diego-area stores. According to a lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the retail chain developed the unwritten policy in 2012. Employees who were caught speaking Spanish would be publicly reprimanded by store managers, according to the lawsuit. Despite multiple employee complaints, the supermarket chain did not change the policy, forcing some employees to transfer.

A lawsuit filed by the EEOC claims employees in some stores were barred from speaking Spanish while working, including to Spanish-speaking customers.

The lawsuit specifies an Albertsons store located San Diego as subjecting “Hispanic employees to harassment and a hostile work environment” due to the imposed policies.

“It is extremely important for workers to feel safe in coming forward to report harassment,” Christopher Green, EEOC’s San Diego office director, told NBC San Diego. “It is equally important for employers to make certain that harassment is investigated and addressed appropriately.”

According to the lawsuit, an upper-level manager at an Albertsons store told Latino employees that “they could not speak Spanish anywhere on the premises regardless of whether they were on break.”

“While we cannot comment on this pending litigation specifically, Albertsons does not require that its employees speak English only,” company spokeswoman Jenna Watkinson told the LA Times. “Albertsons serves a diverse customer population and encourages employees with foreign language abilities to use those skills to serve its customers.”

Yet, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Albertsons employees Guadalupe Zamorano and Hermelinda Stevenson both filed complaints to management in 2012 after they were reprimanded for speaking Spanish. Both eventually requested transfers to different stores citing harassment.

There has been immediate backlash on social media due to claims of the lawsuit.

Many are defending the workers and even calling for a boycott to the supermarket chain, which employs some 280,000 employees across 35 states.

Coincidentally Albertsons posted a tweet about Cinco de Mayo that has some calling them “hypocrites”.

The lawsuit asks the court to order Albertsons to stop discriminating against employees based on their national origin, to compensate the aggrieved employees for monetary losses and emotional pain according to proof at trial, to award punitive damages and to pay the EEOC’s legal costs.


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Defamation Of Character Is One Reason The Inspiration Of ‘Hustlers’ Is Suing J.Lo’s Production Company

Entertainment

Defamation Of Character Is One Reason The Inspiration Of ‘Hustlers’ Is Suing J.Lo’s Production Company

hustlersmovie / Instagram

It’s been a crazy few months for Jennifer Lopez who starred in “Hustlers” and earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role and is expected to get an Oscar nod as well. However, the real-life stripper, Samantha Barbash, who helped inspire the film and Lopez’s character, Ramona,  won’t be congratulating her anytime soon.

That’s because Barbash is suing Lopez’s film studio Nuyorican Productions, STX Entertainment, Gloria Sanchez Productions, and Pole Sisters LLC, claiming filmmakers defamed her and failed to uphold her civil rights. While Lopez is not specifically named in the lawsuit, her production company is. As of now, she has yet to comment on the lawsuit. 

According to TMZ, Barbash is filing a lawsuit for $40 million; $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages. She is also asking for a court order that would require producers to turn over all copies of the film. The lawsuit reads that Barbash was contacted by producers of the film multiple times for her consent but ultimately never gave it. Production of the film would go on without her approval. 

According to Barbash, the film “Hustlers” is a direct depiction of her and claims that the character Ramona is still too similar to her.  

“Hustlers” focuses on the story of Destiny (Constance Wu) who is trying to make ends meet as a club dancer. She becomes friends with a successful dancer, Ramona (Lopez) who takes her under her wing. In the film, the duo partakes in a scam where they take advantage of Wall Street bankers and drug them, eventually taking their money. 

The movie was originally based on a 2015 New York Magazine story, “The Hustlers at Scores,” which describes the real-life events of Barbash and her experience as a club stripper at Score’s Gentlemen’s Club in New York. Barbash would eventually plead guilty to conspiracy, assault and grand larceny for her role in the real-life scheme in 2016, serving five years probation. While the film was based on the New York Magazine Story, Barbash claims that the character Ramona is a direct depiction of her. 

 “Defendants did not take caution to protect the rights of Ms Barbash by creating a fictionalised character, or by creating a composite of characters to render J-Lo’s character a new fictitious one; rather they engaged in a systematic effort to make it well-known that J-Lo was playing Ms Barbash,” the suit reads. 

“While we have not yet seen the complaint, we will continue to defend our right to tell factually based stories based on the public record,” STXfilms spokesman Steve Elzer told the LA Times.

This isn’t the first time we hear of a potential lawsuit from Barbash, who has been threatening legal action before the film was released back in September. 

Barbash might have planning to file a lawsuit from the very beginning as she spoke to the New York Post about it last April, months before the movie’s September release. She pointed out to the New York Post that she was a hostess and was never a stripper as depicted in the film. 

 “We’re putting a stop to it because she’s actually misrepresenting me. I was never a stripper. It’s defamation of character,” Barbash said. “It’s my story she’s making money off of,” Barbash fumed. “If she wants to play me, then she should have gotten the real story.”

When the movie was doing its press run, Barbash was interviewed by Vanity Fair about her thoughts on the film. She told the magazine that she “wasn’t that impressed” with “Hustlers.”

“Everyone has been asking, ‘Did I see the movie?’ So I thought, ‘Why don’t I just see the movie,’ because I knew I was going to have a lot of interviews about it this week,” she told Vanity Fair. “I wasn’t really that impressed. I was impressed with Jennifer. She was incredible. Her body looked incredible. She had it down to a tee, but it wasn’t factual.”

While she wasn’t a fan of the movie as a whole, Barbash did give credit to Cardi B’s role in the film ultimately saying that she wished she would have played her character in the movie.   

“I love Cardi,” Barbash said. “Her 10 minutes was a great 10 minutes… It’s funny because, when I first heard that the film was coming out, [my business partner] said [she wished] Cardi would have played me. Even though she is not an actress, she was in the strip club world and she gets it. She would have maybe played a better me. Not taking away from Jennifer. But just because Cardi was in the business.”

READ: Alex Rodriguez Wrote A Sweet Instagram Post After J.Lo Didn’t Take Home A Golden Globe

From Spain To Latin America, How A Mass Migration Created A Thriving Latino/Jewish Community

Culture

From Spain To Latin America, How A Mass Migration Created A Thriving Latino/Jewish Community

Unsplash

The days of stereotyping Latinos are over, dead to 2019. We are an ethnicity, not a race, which means we have every range of skin tone and practice every major religion. The arc of Latinidad is so entrenched in imperialism and immigration that it makes sense we would be so diverse. To be Latino has often meant being a native Latin American indigenous person or ancestry that, at some point, hailed from somewhere else in the world and landed in Latin America. The Spanish Inquisition is largely responsible for the present-day stereotype of Catholic Latinos, but the Inquisition is responsible for the mass immigration of Spanish Jews as well. During the 16th century, the Inquisition mandated that all Jews convert to Catholicism. Many of them did and were known as conversos, but many of them continued to practice their religion in secret, becoming known as crypto-Jews. The rest were expelled from the country and would eventually make their way to Latin America.

Today, an estimated half-million Jews live in Latin America, with Argentina having the second-largest Jewish community in the Americas, at an estimated 300,000 total. 

Studies have revealed that almost 25 percent of Latinos have Jewish DNA.

Credit: Unsplash

Immigration has long been the defining mark of non-Indigenous Latinos. Historians have long wondered how many descendants were produced from those original Jews expelled from Spain to Latin America. What’s more interesting is understanding that conversos offered a whole other lineage of people with Jewish heritage hatefully stamped out by an empire–an erasure of identity that can now be found through genetics research. A Nature Communications study from December 2018 has concluded, based on the research of dozens of professors around the globe, that 25 percent of Latinos have Spanish or Portuguese Jewish DNA. Today, 20% of the 60 million people in the Iberian peninsula have significant Jewish ancestry. Researchers suspect that the total number of descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities range in the 200 million.

In a world without anti-Semitism, would Latinos be more widely known as Jewish because their ancestors weren’t forcibly converted?

Credit: Unsplash

Given the shocking estimates, it seems likely that there could have been as many as 1 in 4 Jews in the Latino community. In Miami Dade County, a third of all Jews identify as Latino Jews, and many Latino-American Jews have begun advocating for their Latino culture within the Jewish community. “[Although we] don’t generally inhabit the same spaces, we have to come together and become aware of the commonalities, the linguistic, cultural and historical ties the two communities have. Latino Jews could play an important role in being the link between Jews and Latinos, so what we’re trying to do is create more and more spaces for this interaction and cooperation to happen,” Dina Siegel Vann, Director of Latino Affairs at the American Jewish Committee told Aish.com.

Even though anti-Semitism and radical political ideology have erased the Jewish heritage that could have been passed down to the existing Latino population with Jewish DNA, many Jewish customs and traditions have prevailed in Latino culture without due credit. Por ejemplo.

Puerto Rican Sofrito came from the Sephardic Jews.

CREDIT: @IZZY_MONEY85 / TWITTER

That’s right my fellow Boricuas, sofrito might be the ultimate symbol and base of our cuisine, but Spanish Jews had long been using the garlic, onion, pepper, tomatoes, cumin, and olive oil base salsa to slow-cook chicken, veal, beef or lamb by Spanish Sephardic Jews. In fact, we owe it to the Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition for bringing their recipes with them. Their cultural influence made an impact on Spanish cuisine, which then had a ripple effect on Latin America as it became colonized by Spain. Originally, sofrito was most often celebrated in the Balkans, the Levant, Turkey, and the Maghreb before making its way to become a Puerto Rican staple. Whatever you decide to make for your Hanukkah meal, including sofrito is a no-brainer crowd pleaser.  

Lachmazikas, a meat-stuffed pastry, is quite similar to empanadas.

CREDIT: UNTITLED. DIGITAL IMAGE. TABLETMAG. 20 DECEMBER 2019.

While most Latino-Americans are unified in speaking Spanglish, Latino Jews speak Ladino. Israeli Jews delight in sufganiyot, while American Jews often see it as an afterthought, just a jelly-filled donut. Spanish Jews made lachmazikas, which were filled with everything from lamb and mushrooms to ricotta, herbs, and whitefish. A meat stuffed bread might sound familiar to you *cough* empanadillas *cough*.

Looking for more Latino-Jewish foods for your Hanukkah celebration? Look no further.

READ: Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina