Allegations arose last month that Edward Smith, an Aladdin retail manager here at Capital, made a racist remark toward some of the Black employees in One Main Cafe.
Robert Redd, an evening supervisor on the Aladdin team, took time to speak with The Chimes. The information he shared was relayed to him through the employees who heard Smith’s remark. Out of fear of losing their jobs, they were not comfortable with speaking on the situation themselves, so Redd is their representative.
Smith allegedly said, “We need to get these monkeys under control in this zoo.” According to what Redd heard from the employees, this statement was directed towards them and not the students in One Main Cafe. It’s important to clarify the context.
Smith declined to comment on the situation. Instead, The Chimes was contacted by a spokesperson for Aladdin. In their email response, they stated, “While we cannot share details about personnel matters, we can confirm that we promptly conducted a full investigation into this matter and took appropriate corrective action.”
This statement is corroborated by what Redd said in his interview, which was that Smith was written up for his remark, but wasn’t suspended or fired for it. Outside of receiving a written warning for his behavior, it appears that no further action has been taken against Smith.
Though action has been taken, the employees affected by this experience do not feel it’s enough. Redd is a Black man himself, so he finds it unacceptable that him and his colleagues have to work alongside someone who makes such comments.
“Your management team should not be like that,” Redd said. “Your management team is supposed to make you feel welcomed and valuable. Without the kitchen people, this place can’t run.”
Determined to seek justice, Redd reached out to the Aladdin HR department, and even the NAACP. Ultimately, he reached out to the school newspaper to bring awareness to what’s happened.
“The school should know about somebody like that on their property,” Redd said.
The main reason Redd continues to endure this work environment is because of the students. He stated, “I’m not here for them [Aladdin management], I’m here for Capital University students. The young people keep me young.”
The only additional thing that Aladdin is planning to do at this time is to provide more training for employees so that situations like this don’t occur again.
The Aladdin spokesperson stated, “In addition to our existing training, our HR team will be conducting an on-site training this month focused on recognizing, preventing and reporting harassment and discrimination in the workplace for the entire Aladdin team at Capital University.”