Shoe Company accused of racism towards Serena Williams- View: 14753 by Philip Anderson
Tennis: Managers for the luxury shoe company Gianvito Rossi have been accused
In a shocking new racial discrimination lawsuit, a former employee claimed that managers for the luxury shoe company Gianvito Rossi called tennis star Serena Williams "disgusting" and refused to give her the same discounts as white celebrities.
Whitney Wilburn, says she was recruited to work for Gianvito Rossi in 2015 from "another Madison Avenue fashion house" where she'd been for five years. But once she was hired to run the Manhattan boutique, her boss, Grace Mazzilli, was immediately "hostile to Wilburn based upon her race and age," the suit alleges.
Wilburn, 46, claims in the Manhattan civil suit that her “experience with Mazzilli left no doubt about Mazzilli's racial animosity toward African-Americans. 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.
The managers "referred to Ms. Williams as 'disgusting' and refused to offer any discount," according to court papers. "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.
An employee at Gianvito Rossi's Manhattan boutique said Mazzilli was unavailable to comment because she's travelling in Italy. Representatives for the company did not immediately return a message.