Wine Tour Apologizes For Kicking Women Off Train For 'Laughing While Black'

The Napa Valley Wine Train issued an apology to California book club "Sistahs on the Reading Edge" for publicly kicking them off the train for laughing loudly, CNN reports.

"The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100% wrong in its handling of this issue," CEO Anthony Giaccio said in a statement. "We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests."

At the beginning of the trip, the 11-woman reading group, consisting mostly of black women, from Antioch, California, was thrilled to drink wine in a historic rail car and enjoy the scenic northern California views, reports the LA Times.

"We made it, y'all," book club member Lisa Renee Johnson said in a Facebook video. "Look at us. We are getting ready to get on the wine train."

Two hours later, train workers escorted them through six rail cars and off the train for excessive noise, where police officers met them and put them on a bus back to the station.

Johnson says she was "humiliated" for being treated "like [they] were criminals" and has called the train out for racial bias, saying her group was kicked out for "laughing while black," which has become a viral hashtag on social media.

"Following verbal and physical abuse toward other guests and staff, it was necessary to get our police involved,” said the train's original Facebook statement, now deleted. “Many groups come on board and celebrate. When those celebrations impact our guests, we do intervene.”

The second statement features more carefully selected words, but they fell flat on Johnson's ears.

"They're not apologizing for parading us down those five train cars and giving us to the police; they're not apologizing for making us stand in the dirt for 20 minutes in the hot sun with an 85-year-old senior and somebody else who is just recovering from surgery," Johnson said, according to CNN.

"They're not apologizing to how we felt we were treated on their train," she added. "We feel like we were never their customers, and they never ever made accommodations for us. It was about us having to make accommodations for other people."

Sources: CNN, LA Times
Photo Credit: Facebook

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