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- Employees of color at an Old Navy store in Philadelphia allege that they were replaced with an all-white crew and asked to stay away from filming of the most recent season of Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” according to a report from Philadelphia magazine.
- “I felt the racism the moment I was being told by managers to go to sections of the store that I usually don’t work around,” one employee told Philadelphia magazine.
- An Old Navy spokesperson denied the claims in a statement to Business Insider, writing, “We would never select employees to participate – or not – based on race. That is completely inaccurate and against the values we stand for as a company.”
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Though Netflix’s hit show “Queer Eye” continues to bring fans to tears around the nation with its message of self-acceptance and inclusivity, an Old Navy store featured on an upcoming season of the show has been accused of racist behavior during filming.
According to Philadelphia magazine, three employees of color at an Old Navy store located in Philadelphia’s Center City district allege they were asked to stay away from filming, claiming they were relegated to the sidelines while a group of all-white employees brought in from the suburbs took their place.
The employees said that in total, 10 white store workers were brought to the Center City location. The allegations first surfaced when Monae Alvarado, a Cambodian store employee, posted about the incident on Facebook.
“They 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 wrote. “The shade I tell you.”
In a statement provided to Business Insider, an Old Navy spokesperson wrote that the company worked with “additional employees in the area to help ensure the store ran seamlessly for customers” during the course of filming, noting that these outside employees may appear in background shots.
However, the spokesperson maintained that the decision about which store workers were brought in was not based on race, adding that in advance of filming the company selected a store leader, a black woman who manages the store, to appear on camera.
“At Old Navy, we celebrate the diversity of our teams and our customers and foster an environment of inclusion and belonging,” the spokesperson wrote.
“We were proud to work with the Queer Eye show to film at our store in Philadelphia and to feature our local store manager on camera … These individuals are reflective of our diverse employee population. We would never select employees to participate – or not – based on race. That is completely inaccurate and against the values we stand for as a company.”
Still, the employees of color who spoke with Philadelphia magazine expressed feelings of prejudice, including one Center City store worker speaking on the basis of anonymity.
“I felt the racism the moment I was being told by managers to go to sections of the store that I usually don’t work around,” the employee said. “It became clear that we weren’t going to be filmed because we hadn’t been asked to sign consent forms, and they made it a point to keep us as far away from the cameras as possible. Most of the staff and managers at our store location are black.”
Netflix did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment. However, Tan France – a member of “Queer Eye”‘s “fab five” who specializes in fashion – responded to the allegations on Facebook, sharing his thoughts via a comment on Alvarado’s Facebook post.
“I don’t know what happened behind the scenes, or overnight, but what I can tell you is that there [is] no way I would ever have allowed production to move POC [people of color] to the back,” France wrote. “I should also mention that I had one person join me on camera, from Old Navy. She was African American. This is the last I will say on this matter.”