Don’t expect to hit up a Sephora store this Wednesday morning. The retail giant is closing all of its U.S. locations for one hour, as well as its distribution centers and corporate offices, for diversity training. It’s a bold but important move, as it comes after Grammy-nominated singer Sza accused one Sephora employee of accusing her of stealing, implying there was racial discrimination. Sza, who is actually a former Sephora employee, tweeted the story.
“Lmao Sandy Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn’t stealing. We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy,” Sza wrote on Twitter. “Can a b*tch cop her fenty in peace er whut,” she added. You might remember that Sza is actually part of the Fenty fam and starred in a Fenty Beauty campaign last year. Sephora responded, acknowledging that fact.
“You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores,” Sephora tweeted, adding in another thread: “We’re sorry to hear about your experience at our Calabasas store and appreciate you bringing this to our attention. We want to let you know we take complaints like this very seriously and are actively working with our teams to address the situation immediately.”
A spokeswoman for Sephora told Reuters in an email: “We take complaints like this very seriously, profiling on the basis of race is not tolerated at Sephora.” They said these closers are not because of the Sza incident but previously planned “inclusivity workshops” have been in the works for months.
Sza hasn’t responded to the store closures but most likely wants to move forward from this incident. A spokesperson for Sephora sent over the below statement to StyleCaster via email:
“Sephora is a client-centric company and creating a welcoming space for all our clients is our top priority. The ‘We Belong to Something Beautiful’ campaign has been in the works for a year, and the plan to close our U.S. stores, distribution centers, call centers and corporate office for a one-hour inclusivity workshop with our 16,000 employees has been in development for over six months, timed with our first campaign chapter debuting on June 6th. This store closure is part of a long journey in our aspiration to create a more inclusive beauty community and workplace, which has included forming employee resource groups, building social Impact and philanthropic programs, and hosting inclusive mindset training for all supervisors.
While it is true that SZA’s experience occurred prior to the launch of the ‘We Belong to Something Beautiful’ campaign, the campaign was not the result of this Tweet. However, it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever. Our entire organization is excited to set aside this time to re-commit to building an environment of inclusion. We’ll be discussing what it means to belong, across many different lenses that include, but are not limited to, gender identity, race and ethnicity, age, abilities, and more. This week marks the first step in our journey, and with the goal of ensuring everyone feels welcome in the beauty category, we hope that We Belong to Something Beautiful helps further foster that belief, for the benefit of our clients, for the betterment of the industry and our communities at large.”
This post has been updated.