The Napa Valley Wine train issued a public apology on Tuesday to members of the black women's book club that was removed from a tour over the weekend, according to the Los Angeles Times. "The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue," says wine train CEO Anthony Giaccio. "We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests."
The whole issue started when the 11 women said they were kicked off the train "for laughing and talking too loud." The incident quickly ignited social media frenzy centered on the hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack. "It was humiliating ... I felt like it was a racist attack on us. I feel like we were being singled out," book club member Lisa Johnson said. Initially the wine train responded by posting a statement to Facebook alleging that the women had become verbally and physically abusive toward staff and guests. The post was later removed.
The Times reports that Giaccio met Monday evening with a member of the club who suggested that the wine train provide employees with more cultural and diversity training. "We pride ourselves on our hospitality and our desire to please our guests on the Napa Valley Wine Train. In this instance, we failed in every measure of the meaning of good service, respect, and hospitality," Giacco wrote in a letter to the group.