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Walmart sued for racial discrimination after Black hair products put in locked case

"I had to step back. I was in shock."


Chris Tognotti


Posted on Jan 28, 2018   Updated on May 22, 2021, 3:05 am CDT

A woman is suing Walmart for racial discrimination, alleging that one of its stores in Perris, California specifically moved its Black hair products in a glass case and forced them to be unlocked before being purchased, according to NBC Los Angeles.

She’s being represented by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred, and the pair held a press conference on Friday. Allred introduced her client, Essie Grundy, and told the assembled press that a race discrimination lawsuit had been filed against Walmart. According to Grundy, hair products designed for Black customers were kept locked away behind glass while similar products for customers of other races were available unsecured on store shelves as usual.

“When I walked down the aisle and saw that Walmart had placed all of the African-American hair and skin products under lock and key, I had to pause,” she said. “I had to step back. I was in shock. I realized that all the similar products for other races were freely available.”

“I just feel that we need to be treated equally,” Grundy said. “It’s no way that we should be treated this way because of a complexion. We are all human, and we deserve to be treated as everyone else.”

A Walmart spokesperson gave the following statement to Fox 11 Los Angeles, insisting that individual stores make decisions about which products to give additional security.

“No retailer is immune to the challenge of crime, and Walmart is not exempt,” the spokesperson said. “The decisions about which items are subject to additional in-store security is made on a store-by-store basis, and often at the discretion of the store manager.”

Allred has made a career out of taking splashy cases against high-profile targets, especially ones that involved sexism, women’s rights, or racism. This current suit against Walmart is the latest example―she’s also currently representing Summer Zervos, one of the many women who’ve accused President Donald Trump of sexually predatory behavior, in a defamation suit against him.

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*First Published: Jan 28, 2018, 3:30 pm CST