POINT PLEASANT BEACH, NEW JERSEY — Was this a case of racism? There are multiple sides to this story. Who do you think is telling the truth?
Attiyya Barrett, on August 10, visited Jenkinson’s Aquarium with a group of girls from her Princess to Queenz summer camp. Well, according to Barrett, the girls were accosted by a gift shop clerk as they attempted to shop for souvenirs.
Barrett says the clerk, identified as “Linda,” told the girls they couldn’t be in the store without a chaperone. So, they left and returned with one. According to Linda, she didn’t believe the 32-year-old with whom they returned was indeed their chaperone.
So, they still weren’t allowed in the store and were asked to leave — everyone in Barrett’s party.
Via Facebook, Barrett provides the following video footage.
“THE CONSTRAINT I had to exhibit in front of them leaves a horrible taste in my mouth,” Barrett mentions in her post. “I had to explain to 40 girls that they are still valuable and they’re 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! Owner ‘Linda’ said so! ?”
According to App., an extension of USA Today, “Linda” has been suspended amid an internal investigation.
The source says a spokesperson for Jenkinson’s Pavilion — marketing director Toby Wolf — provided a statement, saying that any kind of discrimination isn’t tolerated by the company; the company happens to own and operate various private beaches, boardwalks, amusement games, and the aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach.
“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.”
Likewise, in a separate statement — according to the source — Jenkinson’s Aquarium said it was committed to “preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion.”
The source reports that review sites like Yelp became flooded with comments blasting Jenkinson’s for the incident.
And reportedly, by Sunday morning, the company’s social media presence had gone quiet; too, its Facebook page had been taken down.
If you’re interested in the girls’ responses, check the interview below.
AN ALLEGED ‘OTHER SIDE’ OF THE STORY
Now, while it’d be easy to call this situation a racist one, kids will be kids — especially if left unsupervised. According to New Jersey 101.5, a witness claimed to be in the store when everything went down and says Barrett’s video only shows a fraction of what actually happened.
According to the source, the poster went by the screename “KS” and mentioned:
“I was in the gift shop with my wife and daughter when all this went down. What you don’t see on the tape is what took place BEFORE all this happened.”
This alleged witness says many of the kids were “totally out of control” and were running around, screaming.
“They almost knocked my 2-year-old daughter over a few times to where I had to carry her the entire time were [sic] were in the aquarium,” KS stated.
“They were running around, screaming and causing a ruckus,” the person further elaborates. “When the shop owner asked the campers where they chaperone was, the campers said ‘she’s not here.’ At which point, the shop owner said, ‘if your chaperone is not here, then you have to leave.'”
However, according to this alleged witness — when the chaperone did arrive — she got “very very loud and defensive, and then the shop owner asked them all to leave.”
KS says that racial profiling wasn’t a factor in the clerk’s decision.
“This was a case of a shop owner expecting people to act properly in their shop so nothing gets broken. I really hope there are security cameras with sound in the shop so the truth will come out. There are two sides to every story, the video only shows one side. Everyone is so quick to drop the ‘R’ word that it overshadows what really took place and the events leading up to the argument.”
All in all, who do you believe? Without security camera footage, it’s difficult to tell who’s side is the truth. Nevertheless, if you have any comments, feel free to share them via our Facebook page.
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[Featured Photo via Attiyya Barrett / Facebook / screengrab]