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A Banana Republic manager in White Plains, New York, has been fired for discrimination after he allegedly told an employee her box braids were too “urban” and “unkempt” for the store’s image.
Over the weekend, Destiny Tompkins, 19, went viral for her Facebook post detailing how her manager, a white man, admonished her hairstyle. The confrontation came after a store visit from a district manager who Tompkins said was also white.
so today I went into work at Banana Republic at the Westchester Mall and after the district manager (a white woman)...Posted by Destiny Tompkins on Wednesday, October 4, 2017
“I came in and [the store manager] questioned me about the dress code and immediately, I thought there was something wrong with my outfit but he sat me down and questioned my hair instead,” Tompkins wrote. “He told me that my braids were not Banana Republic appropriate and that they were too ‘urban’ and ‘unkempt’ for their image.”
Tompkins added that the manager threatened not to schedule her for shifts until she removed her braids. When she tried to explain that the braids helped protect her hair from becoming brittle in the cold, the manager recommended she use shea butter.
“I have never been so humiliated and degraded in my life by a white person,” Tompkins wrote.
She said that box braids “are not a matter of unprofessionalism.”
“They are protective styles black women have used for their hair and to be discriminated against because of it is truly disgusting and unacceptable,” Tompkins wrote.
On Monday, Banana Republic spokesperson Sheikina Liverpool told BuzzFeed that the manager in question has been fired, calling the situation “unacceptable.”
“This week, one of our store managers questioned an African-American employee’s braided hairstyle,” Liverpool said. “Our team began an immediate investigation and the manager involved was promptly removed from the store. Today we concluded the investigation and can confirm that the manager has been terminated from the company. Banana Republic has zero tolerance for discrimination. This situation was completely unacceptable, counter to our policies, and in no way reflects our company’s beliefs and values.”
Kris Seavers is the IRL editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.