Friday, June 21, 2024

Moschino Has a Code Word (Serena) for ‘Poor’ Black Shoppers, According to New Lawsuit

Shamael Lataillade (via Instagram)
Shamael Lataillade (via Instagram)

*A Haitian American woman is suing the Italian brand Moschino for racial profiling; claiming her manager at a store in West Hollywood used a racist codename to describe Black customers perceived to be too poor to “afford items in the store.”

Former Moschino employee Shamael Lataillade has filed a complaint against the company in California state and named her manager, Ranna Selbak, as a defendant in the case. She claims Selbak would call Black shoppers “Serena” and would encourage staff members to “closely watch” and even follow them.

Lataillade had worked as a Sales Supervisor since June 2015 and her lawsuit asserts that she was wrongfully terminated last spring, “following ongoing and atrocious harassment and discrimination based on her status as a Black, Haitian American woman.” As reported by The Fashion Law, she accuses Selbak of stealing “4 percent” of her commissions, refusing to give her the mandatory vacations days or clothing allowance and “demanding that [she] do things outside of her agreed workload without additional compensation, title, or benefit.” Lataillade says Selbak “created and fostered a hostile environment.”


According to the complaint, Selbak “would verbally abuse [Lataillade], calling her names” including  “ghetto” and “thief” and said she “practiced voodoo” due to her Haitian heritage. On several occasions, Selbak allegedly said Lataillade’s “natural, kinky hair” was not a “professional look.”

Selbak also enforced a racist “protocol” for Black customers who were not celebrities “and did not have an outward appearance of money via diamonds or name brands” and who she believed “couldn’t afford items in the store.” She would also “take pictures of [their] licenses plates” in the store parking lot, and engage in acts that caused them to feel “degradation, humiliation, harassment, and discrimination.”

Lataillade is reportedly suing for breach of contract, race harassment and discrimination, religious harassment and discrimination, gender harassment and discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and defamation. She is seeking monetary damages, including triple damages since the defendants’ conduct “was committed intentionally, in a malicious, oppressive, fraudulent manner.”

Moschino has said in a statement that it “complies with applicable equal employment laws and values and respects all customers and clients regardless of their race or background.”

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