Luxury brand, Louis Vuitton has come under fire for allegedly using racist comments against an African employee, reportedly saying, “Black people are slaves who eat dirt off the floor.”
Sales associate Oliver Koffi claims he was in a stock room packing a pair of shoes for a customer when his manager began the shocking race rant in front of stunned staff.
He alleged that the manager called Barack Obama a “muppet” and said America would be better off with “Miss Piggy” as its president because “Muslim people… don’t eat pork”.
Mr Koffi says he was left humiliated by the “black slaves” slur while working at the label’s store in Central London.
Details of the allegations emerged in papers which will be presented to a Central London Employment Tribunal on July 18.
Mr Koffi is suing Louis Vuitton for racist discrimination and harassment.
He claims his manager’s tone of voice was “cold and serious” as he made the comments during a discussion on the origins of the English language with him and three other members of staff in December last year.
Mr Koffi said: “During this discussion, my manager quite randomly stated that ‘black people are slaves and eat dirt off the floor’.
“This comment was grossly offensive and extremely humiliating.
“His reference to slavery in this day and age with regards to black people is quite frankly revolting.”
Mr Koffi was a contract worker at the Louis Vuitton Townhouse at London’s iconic Selfridges department store at the time of the incident.
He says he recorded the offensive comments on tape after concerns over the manager’s alleged “racist conduct”.
He added: “He went on a rant about black people and other races and religions. He jumped from subject to subject, making comments about other races and religions. He made comments about Barack Obama.
“All of his comments were derogatory and a clear illustration of his prejudices towards other races and religions.
“His comments were offensive and degrading. I confronted him about his statement that ‘black people are slaves and eat dirt off the floor’.
“I told him that I was offended by his comment. He did not deny making the comment. He apologised and claimed it was a ‘joke’. It was not a joke at all.”
Mr Koffi says the manager, who left his job following a disciplinary proceeding, had previously questioned him about his nationality, asking, “where are you originally from?” and often referred to customers by their skin colour.
He alleges that the manager’s frequent remarks about Asian people and his comments about some Louis Vuitton products being “s***” because they were “made in China” created a “hostile and intimidating” working environment.
His solicitor Lawrence Davies, of Equal Justice solicitors, said: “The case will set the 21st century bar as to what employers have to do to prevent racism in the workplace.”
Louis Vuitton accepts that the racist comment was made but defends the claim on the basis the company had taken all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the racist comment.
High-end fashion has recently faced a barrage of racism claims, with models Naomi Campbell and Imam supporting worldwide diversity campaigns.
Yesterday a spokeswoman for Louis Vuitton said: “Louis Vuitton has a zero-tolerance policy to harassment of any kind.
“This reported sentiment is in total violation of the Louis Vuitton Ethical charter.
“This issue was investigated, and the manager in question no longer works within the company.”
Like BlackAmericaWeb.com on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
1 of 30
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
2 of 30
3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
3 of 30
4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
4 of 30
5. Jus haaaanngin out
5 of 30
6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
6 of 30
7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
7 of 30
8. new new
8 of 30
9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
9 of 30
10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
10 of 30
11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
11 of 30
12 of 30
13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
13 of 30
14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
14 of 30
15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
15 of 30
16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
16 of 30
17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
17 of 30
18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
18 of 30
19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
19 of 30
20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
20 of 30
21 of 30
22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
22 of 30
23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
23 of 30
24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
24 of 30
25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
25 of 30
26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
26 of 30
27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
27 of 30
28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
28 of 30
29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
29 of 30
30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
30 of 30