Napa Valley Wine Train CEO Anthony Giaccio Apologizes to Women Escorted Away For #LaughingWhileBlack

Women from Book Club who were escorted off Napa Valley Wine Train for laughing (Photo via media.nbcbayarea.com)
Women from Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club who were escorted off Napa Valley Wine Train (Photo via media.nbcbayarea.com)

Remember that group of women whose story went viral a few days ago because they were kicked off of a Napa Valley Train wine tour for laughing? They’re now getting the apology they deserve from the train’s CEO, Anthony “Tony” Giaccio.

The full statement Giaccio wrote to the members of the Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club reads as follows:

The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue. We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests.

Clearly, we knew in advance when we booked your party that you would be loud, fun-loving and boisterous—because you told us during the booking process that you wanted a place where your Club could enjoy each other’s company. Somehow that vital information never made it to the appropriate channels and we failed to seat your group where you could enjoy yourself properly and alert our train’s staff that they should expect a particularly vibrant group.

We were insensitive when we asked you to depart our train by marching you down the aisle past all the other passengers. While that was the safest route for disembarking, it showed a lack of sensitivity on our part that I did not fully conceive of until you explained the humiliation of the experience and how it impacted you and your fellow Book Club members.

We also erred by placing an inaccurate post on our Facebook site that was not reflective of what actually occurred. In the haste to respond to criticism and news inquires, we made a bad situation worse by rushing to answer questions on social media. We quickly removed the inaccurate post, but the harm was done by our erroneous post.

In summary, we were acutely insensitive to you and the members of the Book Club. Please accept my apologies for our many mistakes and failures. We pride ourselves on our hospitality and our desire to please our guests on the Napa Valley Wine Train. In this instance, we failed in every measure of the meaning of good service, respect and hospitality.

I appreciate your recommendation that our staff, which I believe to be among the best, could use additional cultural diversity and sensitivity training. I pledge to make sure that occurs and I plan to participate myself.

As I offered in my conversation with you today, please accept my personal apologies for your experience and the experience of the Book Club members. I would like to invite you and other members to return plus 39 other guests (you can fill an entire car of 50) as my personal guests in a reserved car where you can enjoy yourselves as loudly as you desire.

I want to conclude again by offering my apologies for your terrible experience.

The story caught attention online when Lisa Johnson, a book club member that was one of the women escorted off of the train on Saturday, shared videos and social media posts documenting the incident. Johnson and her friends in the club were highly embarrassed by the incident. Not only were they escorted off by being forced to walk through six train cars, but they were also greeted by police once they got onto the platform.

Despite this apology, Lisa Johnson told MSNBC‘s Thomas Roberts that she will not patronize the Napa Valley Wine Train again.

“No, we don’t accept the apology… In the course of my conversation with Anthony, he was apologizing. And during the course of that apology he said to me, ‘You know it’s really troubling for us that we’re being painted in the media to be something that we are not. And I had to take that in a moment because I said, ‘That’s exactly what you did to us.’ was paint a picture of us in the media of something that we are not…I will never forget my first and last experience on the Napa Wine Train.”

You can watch Johnson’s full interview in the video by clicking here.

original article by Monique John via hellobeautiful.com; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

4 thoughts on “Napa Valley Wine Train CEO Anthony Giaccio Apologizes to Women Escorted Away For #LaughingWhileBlack”

  1. The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue,” said wine train chief executive officer Anthony “Tony” Giaccio. We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests.

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