Publix is apparently trying to be the Starbucks of the supermarket game. After seeing the coffee chain come under fire for initially not allowing employees to wear Black Lives Matter apparel, Publix came through and said, “Hold my beer.”
NBC News reports that Publix has released a statement saying that employees are not allowed to wear Black Lives Matter apparel. The statement was made partially due to Quinton Desamours, a black teenager who works at a Publix in Lehigh Acres, Fla., He tweeted out earlier this month that after going to work wearing a mask with the letters with BLM written on it he was approached by a manager and sent home.
“Honestly, I was just speechless. He told me the company hasn’t issued a statement and that he doesn’t know if they’re pro or con on the issue, and that I am endangering myself and everyone who worked there.” 18-year-old Desamours told WBBH about when an assistant manager approached him about the mask. Desamours went on to say that the mask policy isn’t enforced equally. “Many, many employees have different designs on their masks. There is an employee that has a comic strip on his mask. So, it seems like they just didn’t like the message I was trying to portray.” Desamours told WBBH
“At Publix, we reject racism and believe diversity makes our company—and our community—better. Our focus remains on ensuring a welcoming work and shopping environment for all associates and customers. Our uniform policy does not permit non-Publix messaging on clothing or accessories.” Maria Brous, a spokeswoman for Publix, said in a statement sent to NBC News.
The company also referred Desamours to a letter written by Publix CEO Todd Jones. “Today, it’s evident that our support and compassion are required on an even deeper level. At Publix, we reject racism and discrimination of any kind.” Jones wrote in a letter detailing his pledge to donate $1 million to National Urban League affiliates.
Publix’s stance essentially boils down to “Hey, we’re not racist. We just want racists to feel comfortable spending money in our stores,” which kind of misses the entire point of the movement.
Desamours was unmoved by both statements and has announced his intention to quit his job. “No place is a bad place to stand up for what’s fundamentally right!” Desamours tweeted on Tuesday.