An Ikea store in Atlanta is under fire over a food menu it put together that it said was to honor the Juneteenth holiday, according to WGCL.
The Juneteenth menu contained fried chicken, watermelon, mac and cheese and collard greens. It was going to be available to all employees on Saturday to “honor and persevere Black Americans” on Juneteenth, the store stated in an email sent to employees, according to the report.
Instead, it sparked outrage among employees. According to the report, more than 30 employees called out from work that day, while many were contemplating quitting.
“You cannot say serving watermelon on Juneteenth is a soul food menu when you don’t even know the history, they used to feed slaves watermelon during the slave time,” one employee told the news station.
Following the incident, Ikea released a statement, saying “the meal was intended to be served to co-workers as an internal celebration, not customers.” While some employees told WGCL that no Black employees were involved with selecting the menu, Ikea stated that there were.
Ikea’s statement to the news station read:
“In addition to offering Juneteenth as one of our paid holidays nationally, our IKEA Atlanta store has recognized Juneteenth with our co-workers for the past four years. To honor the day, a lunch menu was created with the best of intentions, including recommendations from black co-workers. We value our co-workers’ voices and changed the menu after receiving feedback that the foods that were selected are not reflective of the deeply meaningful traditional foods historically served as part of Juneteenth celebrations. We got it wrong and we sincerely apologize. We are committed to educating ourselves and putting a process in place that will allow us to thoughtfully honor Juneteenth in the future.”
The store manager also told WGCL that the Juneteenth menu was changed following the backlash. However, employees noted that the menu was just delayed by one day, with the original menu being served on Sunday instead.
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