This Philadelphia Old Navy Store Is Under Fire For Replacing Minority Workers With White Ones During A Taping Of ‘Queer Eye’
If we found out that a camera crew would be coming to my job to do some reality show filming, you best believe we’d be wearing our best digs, contured-up, and smiling ready to hear the words “Action!” Moments like these don’t come often, and even if you’re shy around a camera, everyone loves to be around a set, watching to see what goes on, and who knows, getting those first 15 minutes of fame. It all sounds fun, right? That’s what a group of young employees thought until they were completely robbed of this moment simply based on the color of their skin.
A Latina posted a lengthy note on Facebook that detailed how a Netflix production crew was set to film “Queer Eye” at their Old Navy store in Philadelphia, only to be replaced during filming by white employees.
Credit: Twitter/@Monae Alvarado
On Aug. 21, Monae Alvarado wrote that she and the rest of her diverse team at Old Navy in Philly worked really hard to make the store look perfect. She wanted her place of business to look good for the Netflix production crew and for the rest of the guys from the show. The trans-Latina said all the employees at the store of minorities, but the show is pretty diverse itself so she never thought the background people (her and her coworkers) would be an issue, but then it all changed the next day.
“Today they brought all these workers from other stores around the region (West Chester, Mount Pocono, and Deptford NJ) and they were all white,” Alvarado wrote. “They had us standing in the back not to be seen while the other workers from another store get to work on our floor like it’s their store. The shade I tell you.”
The next surprising thing is that her post went viral and then people on social media were livid, which is expected considering the context of the show.
Alvarado’s coworker also spoke out on the matter. “Our whole staff was whitewashed,” Marjorie Williams told the Philadelphia Enquirer. Williams has been at that Old Navy location for at least a year. “It was only me and two other black girls in the back. They just kept telling us to go back there, even though there was nothing to do.” As for who is to blame for bringing in white employees, she said she blames the store. “I believe it was the store. When it comes to production, they just want white people or light-skinned people to represent Old Navy.”
Netflix also blames the store. The production crew said they had nothing to do with the white employees taking over.
“Queer Eye‘s hosts, producers, and crew had no knowledge or influence on Old Navy staffing choices while filming in a Philadelphia-based store this past week,” Netflix said, according to Newsweek. “While filming, production featured one female employee, an African American manager, who completed an on-camera styling consultation and also served as a point of contact for our crew.”
So Netflix is making it seem as if not that many Old Navy employees were part of the shoot anyway, and the ones that were there were not all white. But the harm was already done.
Old Navy said they were not trying to whitewash anything.
“At Old Navy, we celebrate the diversity of our teams and our customers and foster an environment of inclusion and belonging,” Old Navy said in a statement provided by Newsweek. “We were proud to work with The Queer Eye show to film at our store in Philadelphia and to feature our local store manager on camera.” They added, “We also worked with additional employees in the area to help ensure the store ran seamlessly for customers, as the location was open for business during filming, and we expect they may appear in background shots. These individuals are reflective of our diverse employee population. We would never select employees to participate – or not – based on race. That is completely inaccurate and against the values we stand for as a company.”
We certainly don’t buy that. Do you?
Old Navy is clearly to blame, and now Alvardo seems to be getting shafted at work because she was the one that made the initial post about what happened.
Alvardo told her followers that she went home crying after work because they had a meeting at her job to discuss what happened and they basically ignored her. “I am hurt that the regional managers came in today and called some of my coworkers off the floor to sit and talk with them about the issue while I was standing 10 feet away from them,” she wrote. ” I thought it was rude and disrespectful they didn’t include me in the discussions.”
Alvardo said they did apologize to her and told her to join the meeting but she said the apology came too late because the meeting was basically over. “I overheard some of them said they don’t see it as racist, which I’m sure they don’t see it that way because they was not there but others did and did felt some way about it and saw it as racist.” She finished her post by saying, “Corporate doesn’t care about you.” Now we can certainly relate to that.