Victoria's Secret released a statement on Facebook in response to Houzah's viral video. The lingerie retailer apologized to the 27-year-old traveling nurse. "What happened at our store should not have happened and does not represent who we are or what we stand for," the statement read.
The associate involved in the incident is no longer employed at Victoria's Secret.
Read the original story below:
Shopping for jeans reportedly got one 27-year-old Black woman kicked out of a Victoria's Secret store in Oxford, Alabama.
Kimberly Houzah is alleging that the manager booted her, and another Black woman, from the Quintard Mall store after a Black woman who they didn't know shoplifted.
Houzah broadcast the stunning exchange on Facebook Live to more than 500,000 people — and counting. In the video, the two Black women can be heard arguing with the manager.
"I'm going to need you to go, that's all I'm saying," the manager, identified as Faith, can be heard saying as Houzah films.
Houzah recounts exactly what happened as she and her companion exit the store.
"Another Black female in here got caught stealing, right. So, she asked me and another Black female to leave," she said in the December 7 Facebook Live video.
"She can't tell us why, but we're kicked out of the store ... I can buy anything in this damn store I want to, but because another Black female gets caught stealing, me and the other Black female here have to be affiliated, so we're all put out."
Houzah immediately cries once she and the other Black woman leave the store.
As she cries, she encourages her mother and friends to boycott the store.
"I already didn't need to be spending the money, but I'm like, you know what? I'm going to treat myself. Then I gotta come down here and deal with this BS?" she said.
"I can buy anything in that store I want. Why do I gotta be put out? Because I just happen to be Black in Victoria's Secret?"
That's a question many of the video's viewers are attempting to figure out as well.
Facebook users flooded Houzah's livestream with messages of support.
A Victoria's Secret spokeswoman told AL.com that they're aware of the situation, but haven't issued a statement.
"We are currently putting together all the information we can gather," the spokeswoman said.
Oxford police chief Bill Partridge also told AL.com that the alleged thief was stopped, but no one was arrested for shoplifting from the store on that day.
While Victoria's Secret investigates, Houzah is taking action. She and 20 other protestors picketed in front of Quintard Mall to demand an apology, according to The Anniston Star. "Inequality is still a thing," Houzah, a traveling nurse, said during the protest. "If people are never held accountable for their actions ... this will continue. They’re going to think it's OK."
She also told AL.com that she spoke with someone at Victoria's Secret's corporate level about the incident. "I'm a little more settled about it today," she said. "I don't want anything bad to happen to anyone. I mean, I can't change who I am. I'm an African-American female and I just want to be treated like everybody else."
For her part, the store's manager told The Anniston Star that she's "very, very sorry" and that the incident never should've happened.
Unfortunately, Houzah isn't the only Black customer to face harassment while shopping.
In 2014, Barneys New York agreed to pay $525,000 to customers of color who were targeted at their Madison Avenue store.
The IB Times reports that executives from Macy's and Barneys even convened at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in June 2015 to seek solutions for racial profiling customers.
"If there's a trust gap with one customer who feels like they're not welcome in our store, or they feel like they have to look over their shoulder … because of the color of their skin … if they feel like there was mistrust on the part of the retailer — us, or anyone else — then we have to fix that," Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren said. "We have to be responsive and decide, what do we have to do to adjust? And it saddens me that this is an issue."
Shopping while Black should not be a problem in 2016. Apparently, at least at one Victoria's Secret in Alabama, it's still enough to bring customers to tears.
Revelist has reached out to Kimberly Houzah and Victoria's Secret for comment.