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Old Navy Is Accused of 'Whitewashing' for Queer Eye

Workers say staff of color were pushed aside
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2019 12:53 PM CDT
An Old Navy store is seen in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

(Newser) – Old Navy workers of color say the store "whitewashed" its staff before Queer Eye showed up for filming, NBC News reports. Monae Alvarado, who works at an Old Navy location in Philadelphia, says she and other employees stayed "overnight" to prep for the Netflix show. "My job is nothing but people of color," she wrote Aug. 21 on Facebook. "Most of us did an overnight to help make the store look beautiful." But the next day, she says, the store brought in an all-white crew of employees from regional stores. The Cambodian American was initially baffled: "My mind was like, 'What are they doing here?'" she tells the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Then managers "had us standing in the back not to be seen while the other workers from another store get to work on our floor like it’s their store," she explains. Another employee agrees the "98% African American" staff was sidelined for the show, which features fashion and lifestyle experts giving someone a makeover. For its part, Old Navy admits to bringing in "additional employees" but denies it was race-based, per People. And Netflix says its show had no input about staffing issues, noting that it included a black, female employee in filming. After regional Old Navy managers came in to discuss the issue with staff, and denied any racist intent, Alvarado says she still felt disrespected. "Old Navy did not respect us that day," she writes on Facebook. "Corporate doesn't care about you." (Read more Old Navy stories.)

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