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Former Gianvito Rossi Employee Alleges Managers Were Racist Toward Serena Williams

According to a former employee’s lawsuit, Serena Williams was subject to racist treatment by managers at the Italian shoe brand Gianvito Rossi. The New York Post reports that Whitney Wilburn, who worked for the company and who is African-American, has filed a suit claiming that she experienced both racial and age discrimination while working there.

In support of her claims about a discriminatory environment, she said that Williams, a frequent customer, asked for a discount of the kind commonly extended to celebrities and that “Gianvito managers responded with racially disparaging comments about Ms. Williams which made it clear that the company did not want African-American women to wear its shoes.” Until an unnamed contact at Vogue put pressure on the managers, they did not offer a discount, and even then Wilburn says it was “a fraction of the discount that white celebrities typically receive.” We have reached out to a rep for the brand for a comment, and will update this when we hear back.

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