"The company did not want African American women to wear its shoes."
Luxury shoe company Gianvito Rossi has been accused of discriminating against Serena Williams and refusing to give her the same discounts and benefits that white celebrities are entitled to, according to a new lawsuit.
According to the racial discrimination suit filed by former employee Whitney Wilburn, who is black, managers at the store referred to Serena as "disgusting" and refused to offer her any discounts.
The lawsuit states, via the NY Post,
“For instance, when the world famous athlete Serena Williams, via her staff, asked for a discount on her extensive purchases, Gianvito managers responded with racially disparaging comments about Ms. Williams which made it clear that the company did not want African American women to wear its shoes,” the suit says.
“When later pressured to do so by a contact at Vogue magazine, they offered only a fraction of the discount that white celebrities typically receive,” the suit says.
Wilburn claims that her boss, Grace Mazzilli, was immediately “hostile to her based upon her race and age.” She was eventually fired without warning in favor of a "much younger, white manager."
"Wilburn, 46, claims in the Manhattan civil suit that her “experience with Mazzilli left no doubt about Mazzilli’s racial animosity toward African Americans.”"
Wilburn also says Mazzilli, who is white, also “threw numerous elaborate dinner parties and social events for all boutiques managed by white employees … while never once holding an event for [her] Madison Avenue store.”
As for Serena, she seems to be doing just fine in her pregnancy, sharing multiple photos of her baby bump on IG throughout the week.