Oliver Koffi claims that the manager told an African employee, “Black people are slaves who eat dirt off the floor,” among other choice remarks about various races and religions. Koffi alleges that these comments were made in a "cold and serious" manner and created a “hostile and intimidating” working environment, though the manager later claimed to have been joking. Koffi is suing Louis Vuitton for racist discrimination and harassment.
According to reports, this particular manager had a running problem with racist remarks; it got bad enough that Koffi decided to record him. Among his other race-related statements: He claimed that Louis Vuitton products were "shit" because they were "made in China," and regularly made racist remarks against Asians as well as Africans.
A spokesperson for the brand released the following statement to The Mirror: “Louis Vuitton has a zero-tolerance policy to harassment of any kind. This reported sentiment is in total violation of the Louis Vuitton Ethical charter. This issue was investigated, and the manager in question no longer works within the company.”
This is not the first time a complaint of this nature has been brought up against a luxury retailer: In 2013, a former security guard filed complaint against the Alexander McQueen boutique in New York's Meatpacking district claiming that two of its employees were so racist towards him that he nearly took his own life. Racism and racial equality have been hot button issues within the industry for years as design houses struggle to keep up with their increasingly diverse customer base.
We have reached out to Louis Vuitton ourselves and are awaiting comment.