An employee at Old Navy’s Philadelphia store accused the company of purposefully sidelining people of color during a taping of Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” saying white employees were bused in from other stores for the day of the shoot.
“[M]y job is nothing but people of color,” Monae Alvarado, an employee at the Center City location in Philadelphia, wrote on Facebook last week. “Most of us did an overnight to help make the store look beautiful. Today they brought all these workers from other store around the region (West Chester, Mount Pocono, and Deptford NJ) and they were all white. They had us standing in the back not to be seen while the other workers from another store get to work on our floor like it’s their store.”
Two other anonymous employees of color shared similar stories with Philadelphia Magazine, with one accusing the company of racism in its staffing choices on the day of the taping.
A spokesperson for Old Navy denied the employee’s comments, calling the allegations “completely inaccurate” in a statement.
“At Old Navy, we celebrate the diversity of our teams and our customers and foster an environment of inclusion and belonging,” the spokesperson said. “We were proud to work with the ‘Queer Eye’ show to film at our store in Philadelphia and to feature our local store manager on camera.”
The Center City location store manager, an African American woman, was the only Old Navy employee featured on camera during the taping.
The statement went on to say that any other employees who may have been captured on camera — including some workers brought in for the day from other stores in the surrounding area — were working in their usual capacity because the store was open for business at the time.
The statement continued, “These individuals are reflective of our diverse employee population. We would never select employees to participate – or not – based on race. That is completely inaccurate and against the values we stand for as a company.”
In his own comment on Alvarado’s post, “Queer Eye” star Tan France, who appeared in the scene in the question, noted that neither Netflix nor the show’s production team had any involvement on Old Navy’s staffing decisions.
“I don’t know what happened behind the scenes, or overnight, but what I can tell you is that there [is] no way I would ever have allowed production to move POC to the back,” he wrote. “I should also mention that I had one person join me on camera, from Old Navy. She was African American. This is the last I will say on this matter.”
Netflix did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.