Watch: Aquarium gift shop employee kicks out black girls in New Jersey, tells them 'you are not welcome here'
A spokesperson for Jenkinson's Aquarium on Tuesday confirmed that the gift shop employee was terminated from her position shortly after the incident.
An aquarium gift shop employee in New Jersey was recorded telling a group of young black girls on a summer camp that they were "not welcome" inside the store without an adult chaperone, even as white girls were browsing inside the store.
Reports state that the employee was fired shortly after the video of the incident went viral. The incident occurred on Friday at Jenkinson's Aquarium Gift Shop at Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey when at least four girls from Princess to Queenz day camp in Paterson tried to enter the gift shop after taking a tour of the aquarium.
A woman employee at the store reportedly told the girls, who were all aged between 12 and 13 years, that they were not welcome inside the store without an adult supervisor. Reports state that when the girls returned to the store with one of the chaperones from the camp, the employee yelled at them. The adult supervisors claim that the girls were not allowed inside the store while other white children were allowed to enter the building without a supervisor, according to the Daily Mail.
A spokesperson for Jenkinson's Aquarium, Toby Wolf, on Tuesday confirmed that the gift shop employee was terminated from her position shortly after they were made aware of what had happened.
Wolf said: "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."
The spokesperson added that the store is also arranging for a diversity training for the rest of the employees "in the very near future."
The incident came to light after the camp organizers recorded a video of the incident and posted it on Facebook. The clip soon became viral and has been widely shared and viewed over 3 million times ever since it was uploaded.
One of the camp organizers, Attiyya Barrett, said that when she took her cellphone out to record the exchange between her and the employee, identified as Linda, the latter said: "You guys love to get your phone out to record."
Barett can be seen questioning the store worker in the video, who appears to laugh and dismiss her complaint. "She excused all of our girls, and what was your reason?' Barrett can be heard saying. The store worker replies with: "Cause they didn't have a chaperone."
"And when they went and got their chaperone, what was your reason?" Barret continues questioning the worker and the employee responds with: "I didn't think she was a chaperone."
Reports state that the young girls felt "embarrassed" by the incident and had to leave the store without getting a chance to browse around.
A 12-year-old Kierra Williams, while talking to northjersey.com said: "I've never been in a situation like that before... it was a pretty bad experience because we didn’t do anything wrong."
While Kierra's cousin, Kianna, said that the woman employee told them to leave the store and even threatened to call security.
Jenkinson's later released a statement and apologized for the incident, saying: "We strive to provide all of our customers with an enjoyable experience and we clearly missed the mark this time. We sincerely apologize to the girls from the camp group for the way they felt upon leaving. We have been in contact with the group leader and will continue to work with her to make amends."