Sephora will close more than 400 stores on Wednesday to host diversity training for employees in the wake of artist SZA alleging that an employee recently thought she was stealing.
Ella Torres of the New York Daily News had the story:
The beauty store announced the decision last week on Facebook, noting that “every Sephora store, distribution center, and corporate office in the US will close to host inclusion workshops for our employees. These values have always been at the heart of Sephora, and we’re excited to welcome everyone when we reopen.”
The training comes less than a week after SZA, whose real name is Solána Imani Rowe, posted on Twitter that an employee she dubbed “Sandy Sephora…called security to make sure I wasn’t stealing” at one of the California store locations.
“We had a long talk,” she wrote. “U have a blessed day Sandy.”
While SZA did not explicitly say she thought she was racially profiled, many people took her experience to be a result of that.
Sephora apologized to SZA after the incident.
Dalvin Brown of USA Today reported that other retails have faced similar issues:
Other retailers including Nike, Papa John’s and Starbucks instituted diversity training programs in the last year after incidents and accusations of wrongdoing.
Starbucks attempted a dramatic move toward racial reconciliation in 2018 as it closed 8,000 stores across the nation for an afternoon of anti-bias training. This came following an incident at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia in which a manager called police on two African-American men who were quietly waiting for a friend.
Also last year, employees at Papa John’s underwent diversity training in a bid to transform the troubled company’s culture. The founder of the pizza maker ignited a firestorm after admitting to using a racial slur during a media training session.
Kate Taylor of Business Insider reported that the inclusivity training had been in the works for a year:
A Sephora representative told Business Insider that the “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign has been in the works for at least a year, including planning for inclusivity training for several months.
“We Belong to Something Beautiful builds on the many diversity and inclusion programs that have existed at Sephora since its inception, and has been in the works for at least one year — as has the store closure and inclusivity workshop … This is a proactive message to support Sephora’s new manifesto and commitment,” the representative said in an email.
The announcement comes after Sephora faced backlash earlier in May when musician SZA tweeted that an employee called security on her while she was shopping at a Sephora location in Calabasas, California.