A couple is claiming security guards at the Angry Orchard brewery in New York racially profiled them and ruined what was to have been a very special day.
Cathy-Marie Hamlet was visiting the Walden, N.Y., Angry Orchard Hard Cider facilities with her boyfriend and group of six friends on Sunday. According to Hamlet, who shared the incident on Facebook, the group was celebrating her boyfriend’s 40th birthday and had gone to New York City for brunch before driving up to the Angry Orchard property.
Hamlet shares that at one point, her boyfriend walked her out to an empty table on the lawn to propose – but was immediately interrupted.
“My boyfriend walked me out to an empty table on the lawn, and before we could sit down, a young lady from security approached us and said to him, ‘I’m sorry sir, but I have to check you back pocket. I was told that you stole a T-shirt from the gift store.’ My boyfriend then emptied all of his pockets, while still trying to keep the ring box hidden from my sight,” she wrote.
“She then walked away, and my boyfriend and I sat down at the table and he began his proposal speech. MID PROPOSAL, the same young lady from security walks back towards and says to me, ‘I’m sorry, I need to check your bag. I was told that he gave it to you, and you put it in your bag.’ Mind you, my bag isn’t even large enough to fit a T-shirt. I emptied my entire bag in front of her, and since this was the SECOND time she had walked over, I said, ‘I know you’re just doing your job, but I can’t help but wonder if this is because we’re Black. We’re the only Black people here at your establishment.’ Of course, she said that that wasn’t the case,” the post continued.
The security guard allegedly left again, only to return when Hamlet’s six friends come to congratulate the newly engaged couple.
“I’m sorry, and not to sound pretentious, but as a doctor, I have no reason to steal a $28 T-shirt when I could afford to buy ALL of the T-shirts in their gift shop.”
“The same young lady from security walks over to the group of us and says, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you all were a part of the same party. I have to check all of your purses and pockets,’” the post shares.
Hamlet claims that after her friends explained no one stole a shirt, the security guards began to get aggressive and threatened to call the police, claiming patrons and the security guards saw her now-fiance steal the shirt – though the shirt was allegedly not discovered on any of the group.
Hamlet wrote that she asked the security guards to review the security tape footage, which the guards said was rolling in the gift shop. The guards, however, allegedly do not review the tape and instead began taking photos and video of the group, as well as snaps of the license plate of the group’s car.
“We as a group decided to leave rather than be attacked by the multiple security guards of Angry Orchard,” Hamlet wrote, also noting that the security guards followed them out to the parking lot and smiled and waved while they left.
“I’m sorry, and not to sound pretentious, but as a doctor, I have no reason to steal a $28 T-shirt when I could afford to buy ALL of the T-shirts in their gift shop,” Hamlet added.
Angry Orchard released a statement to People, apologizing for the incident.
“We reached out and spoke directly with the guest involved to express our apology and offer to make it right. Our security team approached a group of guests based on what they thought was credible information at the time. We believe that we mishandled the situation and we’re now working on additional training for our team to prevent something like this from happening in the future. We’re deeply sorry. The situation didn’t reflect our values of respect and creating a welcoming environment for our guests.”
Those on social media have claimed the brand has been deleting negative posts on its Facebook page and has since blocked the page from reviews.
Many on Facebook and Twitter have also called for a boycott of Angry Orchard Hard Cider, which is owned by The Boston Beer Company, the same company that produces Samuel Adams.