A Georgia Ikea
store apologized for honoring Juneteenth
with a menu that included dishes associated with racist stereotypes
The European furniture giant's Atlanta
branch reportedly emailed employees on Friday about its plans to commemorate the annual holiday
, which commemorates the long-awaited arrival of news
about enslaved people
's emancipation in Texas
Employees told Atlanta station CBS46 that the lunch menu included fried chicken, watermelon
, mac 'n' cheese, and collard greens.
An Ikea spokesperson told The Independent that approximately 20 employees walked off the job in protest
of the menu.
“To honor the day, a lunch menu was created with the best of intentions, including recommendations from black coworkers,” the statement said, adding, “We got it wrong, and we sincerely apologize.”
The menu was racially insensitive and ignorant, according to several anonymous employees who spoke to CBS46.
“You can't say serving watermelon on Juneteenth is soul food
when you don't even know the history
; they used to feed slaves watermelon during slavery
,” one worker told the station.
“It caused a lot of people to be upset; people wanted to quit, and people were not coming back to work.”
Staff members also accused Ikea of developing the menu without consulting any Black employees, despite the retailer's claim that some Black employees provided recommendations.
Following public outrage, the store manager apologized and revised the menu, but employees claimed that the original dishes were still available the day after the holiday.
“They just delayed the menu by a day, thinking that everyone who was upset by the Juneteenth menu would stay home on Juneteenth and not notice, which added insult to injury
,” a staff member told CBS46.
Collard greens, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and meatloaf were reportedly on the updated Juneteenth menu.
According to an Ikea spokesperson, the company will work to ensure that the holiday is celebrated more thoughtfully in the future.
“We value our coworkers’ opinions and changed the menu after receiving feedback that the foods chosen are not reflective of the deeply meaningful traditional foods traditionally served as part of Juneteenth celebrations,” a spokesperson said.
“We are committed to educating ourselves and putting in place a process that will allow us to honor Juneteenth thoughtfully in the future.”