What to Know
- The Jenkinson's Aquarium gift shop worker who asked a group of black girls to leave has been fired
- The worker claimed it was because they weren't with a chaperone, saying "they're not welcome in here"
- "This incident does not reflect the core values of the boardwalk," Jenkinson's said in a statement
A worker at the Jenkinson's Aquarium gift shop on the Jersey Shore has been fired after she was captured on cellphone video telling a group of black girls they were not welcome in the shop.
A spokesman for Jenkinson's in Point Pleasant said Tuesday after investigating the Aug. 10 incident, the employee has been fired.
"This incident does not reflect the core values of the boardwalk. In our 90-year history, Jenkinson’s has always been and will continue to be the place where people from all races, religions, ages, genders, and cultures are welcome," said spokesman Toby Wolf.
Wolf also said Jenkinson's will be conducting diversity training for its employees "in the very near future."
The firing of the unidentified employee comes after Attiyya Barrett, who helps runs a program called Princess to Queenz, told News 4 New York seven girls from the program went into the gift shop at Jenkinson’s Aquarium on Friday and were told by an employee that they couldn’t be there without a chaperone.
When the girls came back with a 32-year-old chaperone, the employee allegedly asked them to leave because the chaperone “looked like one of them,” Barrett said.
In a now-viral video taken by Barrett, the employee says she “didn’t think [the person the kids came back with] was a chaperone.”
“They’re not welcome in here,” the employee says on camera.
The girls who were asked to leave the shop ranged in age from 7 to 14, Barrett said.
“THE CONSTRAINT I had to exhibit in front of them leaves a horrible taste in my mouth,” Barrett wrote in a Facebook post. “I had to explain to 40 girls that they are still valuable and that [their] green dollars still spends even if racist folks try to hurt them!”
“She won. TODAY! But FYI our black dollars aren’t welcome in the Jenkinson’s Aquarium Gift Shop!” Barrett added in her post.
Barrett said she and her group left contact information with the aquarium’s manager. Later, the director and marketing director of the aquarium called her and apologized, she said.
Jenkinson’s Pavilion first suspended the employee, then fired her after they investigated.