Mariana Atencio, who works for MSNBC and NBC, wrote in her book, “Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real,” that she received a phone call from the unnamed manager as she prepared for a flight to the 2017 dinner, asking her what she planned to wear to the event, The Washington Post reported.
“It was a weird phone call — with an even weirder request, Atencio wrote. “‘Why do you ask?’ I replied. ‘Please don’t look too Latina.’ At first I thought I didn’t hear correctly. ‘I beg your pardon?’ I asked. ‘When you pick your outfit, I mean. Don’t look too Latina.’
Atencio, a Venezuelan immigrant, claimed the manager suggested she go to Saks for help styling her outfit.
“‘Have them pick out something demure. Not too colorful or tight. Think Ivanka Trump, okay? Let me know if you run into any trouble. Bye,’” the manager said, according to Atencio.
She wrote that her self-esteem and identity suffered from the insensitive phone call, The Post reported.
She said she wore the “Ivanka-type gown” that was suggested by her stylist at Saks but she was “miserable” the whole time.
Atencio wrote she didn’t confront the manager about the incident, but several months later she said she told the manager to “shut up about stuff that doesn’t impact the product” when the woman criticized her for wearing red lipstick.
In a statement, MSNBC wrote, “That’s obviously a highly inappropriate and unacceptable comment. More than a year and a half later, when it was first brought to a manager’s attention, immediate action was taken. Since this is an HR matter and there are privacy concerns, we won’t go into greater detail," The Post reported.