UPDATE, 4:00 p.m. ET: In response to Zendaya's claims that a Vons employee refused to help her buy gift cards because of her skin tone, Vons spokesman Carlos Illingworth has issued a statement to Us Weekly.
"At Vons we strive to treat each and every customer with the utmost respect. There is a policy that limits gift card purchases using a credit card. Zendaya was able to purchase gift cards up to our limit, and we apologize for any inconvenience or misunderstanding," the statement reads. "We respect Zendaya’s voice in the community and similarly are committed to diversity and inclusion. Moreover, we understand that race is a sensitive issue in America and view this experience as a reminder that every interaction is an opportunity to treat each customer as we ourselves would like to be treated."
Original story below:
Zendaya took to Snapchat Tuesday, September 6, to share a story in which she claimed that a supermarket clerk refused to help her buy gift cards because of her skin tone. Watch what she had to say in the video above.
“So we just got out of this Vons,” the K.C. Undercover actress, 20, told the camera. “Now I am trying to buy a lot of gift cards. There are certain limits or whatever, so you can only buy so much. Now there’s some certain specific things you have to do when it comes to buying gift cards. There’s some certain limits and some things, which is understandable. OK, cool, so I’ll take a less amount, whatever. But the lady that was helping, I don’t think she was a huge fan of our skin tone.”
Zendaya then went on to explain why she feels the grocery store employee might be racist. “In fact, I recall her not trying to help us at all, saying that we couldn’t buy the gift cards, and then throwing my wallet,” she alleged. “I can’t make this s–t up! This is what we deal with! She literally threw my wallet and she was like, ‘You can’t afford this,’ is how she looked at me. It was $400! Long story short. There is so much progress to be done in our world.”
In a subsequent snap, the “Something New” songstress clarified her comments about the cashier’s actions: “It wasn’t like a throw, it was like a toss. She, like, tossed it with my cards still loose … my card fell on the scanner and she was about to keep scanning the next person. I was like, ‘That’s my card, like what are you doing?’ You know what, it’s all love! May she go on to have a wonderful life.”
The good news, however, is that Zendaya was able to purchase the gift cards after a store manager came to the rescue. “Yo shout out the manager for coming and helping,” she shared. “I got my gift cards!”
This isn’t the first time the Dancing With the Stars alum has spoken out about racial prejudice. During an October 2016 cover story interview with Seventeen, the Covergirl model — whose father is black and mother is white — opened up about the importance of speaking up in the face of discrimination.
“I’m proud of who I am, and my parents instilled that in me. I can’t sit here and pretend like being half white doesn’t give me privilege, though, because it does. I don’t go through the same struggles as my darker brothers and sisters. But I can use that privilege to shine a light on their issues, especially being a black woman, which I do identify as,” she told the magazine. “It’s important to use the special place that I’ve been given to uplift my black side. That is the side that has to do the most fighting.”
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