The Napa Valley Wine Train, which kicked off 11 African American women late last month, has received complaints from other minority groups regarding their treatment in the past. The Guardian writes that "it is not the first time that nonwhite groups have complained of discrimination on the wine train." The African American women, who are part of the same book club, were forced to get off of the wine tour train for "laughing and talking too loud." While some people have praised the company for its actions, the incident sparked national debate and the hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack. The women may sue for "malicious oppression."
The company's CEO has apologized for the incident, saying that the company was "100 percent wrong," but that the "ejection of the women was not racially motivated." It is for this reason the women have refused to accept the apology. The women say that they were "quite loud and boisterous" but that they were not ejected over the volume of their laughter but over "the color of their skin."
Debbie Reynolds, a member of the book club, says that other groups were being loud as well, but they were not kicked off: "If it wasn't race-based, then why weren't the other customers who were speaking loudly and laughing and were of another race not given any warnings? Nothing was said to them about keeping the noise level down. The only people that got warnings were a group of African American women." Reynolds adds that she lost her nursing job "as a result of the media storm surrounding the incident."
The Guardian writes that other minority groups have also complained about their treatment on the wine train. Norma Ruiz wrote on the company's Yelp page in April that she and nine of her Latino friends "were admonished by the manger for making too much noise." Ruiz notes that her group did not feel "welcomed." She adds that a large group of white women who were "also making a lot of noise were not approached about their volume."