Famed activist attorney Gloria Allred is representing Essie Grundy, a 43-year-old Californian African-American woman, in a lawsuit accusing Walmart of racially discriminating against black customers by selectively locking certain beauty products up inside glass cabinets. (RELATED: Walmart Apologizes After Employees Refused To Bake ‘Racist’ Blue Lives Matter Cake)
Grundy alleges in her lawsuit that when she visited her local Walmart in Perris, California, to purchase skin cream, she discovered that the merchandise she wanted to purchase was astoundingly well-secured.
“That’s when I noticed that all of the African-American products were locked up under lock and key,” Grundy told reporters at a news conference on Friday, CBS Los Angeles reports.
On the other hand, Grundy’s suit claims, products that appeared to be marketed toward customers of other races were easily accessible, according to KTLA News.
When she noticed this, Grundy complained to the store, but was informed that the “segregation” of beauty products was the result of a top-down directive from corporate. Grundy says that she then exited the store, letting the matter go for the time being.
But when Grundy returned to the same store to purchase a 48-cent comb, she says she was “shocked” to discover that the comb was also protected by a locked case. Even more outrageous, according to Grundy, was the fact that the employee who retrieved the comb would not let Grundy touch it before walking with her all the way to the register.
“I just feel that we need to be treated equal,” Grundy said in a press conference, flanked by her husband and one of her children. “That is second-class citizenship. That is being treated with the utmost disrespect. That’s racial profiling.”
Grundy, a mother of five, told reporters that her whole family was upset over the incident.
Representing Mrs. Grundy, Gloria Allred spoke to reporters and indicated that an apology alone would be an insufficient remedy for the alleged mistreatment of her client. The feminist ambulance chaser unveiled plans to fight for a court injunction halting Walmart’s practices of selectively securing certain merchandise.
Charles Crowson, a Walmart spokesman, said in an email that although Walmart does not discriminate, it will review Grundy’s complaint.
“We’re sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security,” Crowson said in a statement. “Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for heightened measures.”
“While we’ve yet to review a complaint, we take this situation seriously and look forward to addressing it with the court,” Crowson concluded.
Grundy is not the only one complaining about the double standard in Walmart’s policies regarding hair products. According to Business Insider, other customers have taken to social media, posting videos of locked cabinets in Walmart stores around the country and venting their displeasure over the supposed discriminatory security measures.