On Monday morning, we told you the story of eleven black women and one white woman who were escorted off the Napa Valley Wine Train this past weekend after staff said they were “laughing and talking too loud.” After one member of the ejected group, Lisa Renee Johnson, began sharing details of what had happened to them over social media, their story and the hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack went viral.
Later that day, the Wine Train’s chief executive, Anthony Giaccio, met with a member of the group (a book club called Sistahs on the Reading Edge) to give a full apology for what he claimed was insensitivity on the part of his staff. In a statement to the club, Giaccio said, “The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue. We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests.” He continued:
“In summary, we were accurately insensitive to you and the members of the Book Club,” he said in a letter to the group. “Please accept my apologies for our many mistakes and failures. We pride ourselves on our hospitality and our desire to please our guests on the Napa Valley Wine Train. In this instance, we failed in every measure of the meaning of good service, respect and hospitality.”
The company has vowed to provide its employees with cultural and diversity training. Lisa Renee Johnson, the original book club member to share the women’s story, said in a Facebook post on Tuesday, “We refuse to have our joy taken away.”