A popular tourist attraction is defending itself against claims from a mostly black California book club that’s crying racism after being kicked off a Napa Valley train.
Naturally, social media has weighed in heavily and decided in advance that the company is guilty of racism.
The group of 11 women, 10 of whom are black, were removed from the Napa Valley Wine Train Saturday afternoon after staff said they gave them repeated warnings to not be so loud and boisterous.
Train operators said other passengers complained about the group, but the group ignored the warnings thus causing them to be kicked off the train, KTVU reported.
While the book club members don’t dispute that they were rambunctious, and admit they received several warnings, they still believe their removal had nothing to do with their behavior and everything to do with race.
The group told KTVU that they bought their tickets months ago and told the company that they were going to be loud as they were a large group and like to laugh.
“I told the people, ‘well there’s eleven of us, so when we laugh, all at the same time, it’s going to be loud, I don’t think there’s anything we can do about that!,’” said group member Lisa Renee Johnson.
She added that the fact that they weren’t seated together, and the popular tourist attraction’s excess of wine, contributed to the group’s behavior.
“Noise is going to come along with that,” Johnson acquiesced, “and laughter, because it’s fun! It’s wine and not just a glass of wine, it’s free-flowing wine.”
The train company issued a statement defending its actions.
“We do not enjoy asking guests to depart early, but we take these issues seriously to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all of our guests,” read the statement written by spokeswoman Kira Devitt.
But social media savants who look for any reason to start a hashtag campaign against racism, real or imagined, were quick to seize the opportunity to complain using “#laughingwhileblack” as their rallying cry.
If the train was quiet reflection train, then ok, Wine Train, no, I’d be reluctant to ever spend a cent w that company! #LaughingWhileBlack
— QueenBey (@Charvettebey) August 25, 2015
— The Cultured Palate (@culturedpalate) August 25, 2015
So, we can’t laugh, run, walk, wear a hoodie, question, swim or drive. Anything else? #laughingwhileblack
— ebonyjoy (@ebonyjoy) August 25, 2015
— Trills (@TrillyTrills) August 24, 2015
When white folks hatred runs so deep our joy bothers them….. #LaughingWhileBlack occurs
— KayRay (@RE_invent_ED) August 24, 2015
— Adriane Farray (@AFarray) August 24, 2015
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