A former employee at high-end shoe retailer Gianvito Rossi, is accusing the company of displaying racism towards tennis star Serena Williams in a lawsuit filed Thursday in New York City.
Whitney Wilburn, who was hired to oversee the company’s boutique business, says the company called Williams “disgusting” and offered her less of a discount opposed to other White celebrities. Wilburn, 46, also claims she experienced racism and was eventually fired by the company’s global retail director, Grace Mazzilli.
In one instance, Wilburn paints a disturbing scene after Williams’ staff asked for a discount on her “extensive purchases.”
“Gianvito Rossi managers responded with racially disparaging comments about Ms. Williams which made it clear that the company did not want African-American women to wear its shoes,” according to the suit.
Wilburn says the managers called Williams “disgusting” and refused to acknowledge her the request. It wasn’t until a representative from Vogue intervened, that the store granted the discount.
Wilburn who is also Black, says Mazzilli reduced her responsibilities and sabotaged her until she was fired in January. Wilburn says her termination was issued “without rational basis.”
SOURCE: New York Daily News