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IKEA is in hot water after one of its stores in Atlanta featured fried chicken, watermelon, mac n cheese, collard greens, and candied yams as menu items its employees can enjoy in honor of Juneteenth. All foods that are stereotypically associated with Black people.
According to TMZ, an email was sent out to employees last week alerting them that a special menu was going to be rolled out “to honor the perseverance of Black Americans and acknowledge the progress yet to be made.”
The reaction to the email was not positive. Speaking with local news affiliate CBS 46, an employee who remained anonymous, said, “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.” Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, so a “special menu” with those stereotypical food choices is definitely a red flag.
According to the celebrity gossip site, the outrage over the menu led to 20 workers calling out from work. The word that workers were furious quickly spread throughout the store, eventually leading to the store manager sending out another internal email apologizing. The menu was also changed, offering workers cornbread, mashed potatoes, and meatloaf.
TMZ also reports that another anonymous employee claims that none of the workers who put the menu together were Black. The site reached out to IKEA, and a spokesperson refuted those claims saying there were Black workers involve and added, “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.”
Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to be handed their pink slips immediately.
Photo: picture alliance / Getty