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Gabourey Sidibe Details The Time She Was Discriminated At A Chanel Store — And The Brand Responds!

| Filed under: Icky Icky PooFashion SmashionChanelGabourey SidibeRetail Therapy

Gabourey Sidibe has some words for Chanel.

Gabourey Sidibe has had enough.

The Empire star has written a very affecting Lenny Letter detailing her experiences with discrimination in stores. The latest incident occurred at a Chanel store in Chicago near where the actress lives while filming the popular Fox show.

Related: Gabby Has Had Scripts Describe Her As A 'Hippo'

Gabby details entering the boutique to grab some eyeglasses for herself and sandals for Taraji P. Henson, when an employee basically suggests that she leave to find what she's looking for somewhere else.

She wrote:

"[The store clerk] told me the name of the other store again and exactly how to get there and let me know that they had lots of different frames, including Chanel. I'd love to pretend she was being polite, and I'm sure she would love to pretend she was polite, but she was actually condescending. Explaining to me how exactly I should get across the street and out of her sight line, as if I were in kindergarten. I was trying to purchase glasses, and she was trying to get the interaction with me over as soon as possible. Just to be sure of what was happening, I made her tell me to leave, in her pretend-polite way, three times."

Unfortunately, the actress is used to being treated this way, as it's happened to her too many times to even count. She said:

"This actually happens to me a lot. My whole life. Both before and after I became a recognizable actress. It happened to me in St. Maarten on vacation after shooting a film, when I went to a Dior counter to look at lip gloss and the saleswoman literally took a gloss out of my hand and put it back down in the display case. It used to happen to me at my neighborhood beauty-supply store in New York, where I was relentlessly followed around whenever my mom sent me to pick up shampoo and Q-tips. Even when I was a teenager, I knew it was because of my skin color but also because of the environment. I lived in the hood. Being suspected of stealing is just par for the course. Also, I definitely went through a mini-klepto phase when I was around fifteen, so some of that suspicion was warranted. But I grew out of it, and if I weighed the times I was suspected of stealing versus the time I actually stole something, it would be about 99 percent to 1 percent."

Gabby understood right away that the sales clerk simply did not take her seriously because of her skin color, assuming she didn't have the money to pay for anything in the store:

"No matter how dressed up I get, I'm never going to be able to dress up my skin color to look like what certain people perceive to be an actual customer. Depending on the store, I either look like a thief or a waste of time. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground between no attention and too much attention."

It was only after the saleswoman realized Gabby was famous that her tone and attitude changed:

"As we passed through, other employees who were of color noticed me. All of a sudden, the woman who had pointed me out of the store let me know that even though they didn't have eyeglasses, the shades they carried actually doubled as eyeglass frames, so I should take a look at the shades I'd come to look at in the first place. Just like that, I went from being an inconvenience to a customer."

Ridiculous, but also not surprising. Unfortunately, this is something a lot of people of color can relate to. It has even happened to Oprah!

Gabby then considers whether she should leave a bad review of the employee, even though it gives her grief to have to do so:

"Should I worry about what a bad review would do to her career? No. But the fact is that I do. There is something in me, pushing me, forcing me to consider this woman's feelings when she hadn't considered mine at all. I wonder what part of me is convinced that I actually am a nuisance if I fill out this customer survey, honestly. Is it just that I'm a black woman and so I've been trained from birth to put all others first and to just be grateful yet apologetic for any space that I take up in this world? Especially any space that I take up in a Chanel store."

Leave the review, girl! That employee deserves it!

Chanel issued a response to the essay, expressing its regrets at how the 34-year-old was treated:

"Chanel expresses our sincerest regret for the boutique customer service experience that Ms. Sidibe mentioned in this essay. We are sorry that she felt unwelcome and offended.

We took her words very seriously and immediately investigated to understand what happened, knowing that this is absolutely not in line with the high standards that Chanel wishes to provide to our customers.

We are strongly committed to provide anyone who comes in our boutiques with the best customer service, and we do hope that in the future Ms. Sidibe will choose to come back to a Chanel boutique and experience the real Chanel customer experience."

They should also totally send her some free eyeglass frames!

[Image via WENN.]

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