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Women Kicked Off Wine Train Say They Were Guilty of 'Laughing While Black'

Image: Women Kicked Off Wine Train Say They Were Guilty of 'Laughing While Black'
Atmosphere on the Napa Valley Wine Train at Aloft Hotels Presents Live in the Vineyard on November 13, 2010 in Napa, California. (Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images for Aloft Hotels)

By    |   Tuesday, 25 Aug 2015 12:50 PM

Women in a California book club were kicked off of Napa Valley's famous wine train on Saturday, and they say their removal was motivated by the fact that they're black.

"It was humiliating. I’m really offended to be quite honest," Lisa Johnson, 47, one of 11 members of the group, told The San Francisco Chronicle. "I felt like it was a racist attack on us. I feel like we were being singled out."

The train trip commence around 11 a.m., and all of the members of Sisters on the Reading Edge — including an 83-year-old grandmother — were escorted off by police officers roughly half-way through the 18-mile trip.

In an initial statement posted to Facebook, the train company wrote, "Following verbal and physical abuse toward other guests and staff, it was necessary to get our police involved."

That statement was soon removed from Facebook, however, and company spokeswoman Kira Devitt clarified that The Napa Valley Wine Train company had "received complaints from several parties in the same car" about the group's noise level.

"After three attempts from staff, requesting that the group keep the noise to an acceptable level, they were removed from the train and offered transportation back to the station in Napa," she said.

Johnson said that several members of the wait staff said the group was no louder than most other groups of 11 people they'd served, and didn't agree with the group's ejection. She added furthermore that the group was just starting their day, and were not intoxicated on the wine train.

"We were truly kicked out because we were 'laughing while black' . . .  It was racially charged," Johnson told NBC Bay Area Monday.

That statement from Johnson, an avid social media fanatic who even live-streamed some of her annual trip on the Periscope app, soon sparked a trending hashtag on social media, #LaughingWhileBlack.

By Tuesday, the wine train had issued an apology to the group via CBS News, writing, "We want to apologize to them for their experience and listen to their concerns and complaints." 



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Women in a California book club were kicked off of Napa Valley's famous wine train on Saturday, and they say their removal was motivated by the fact that they're black.
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Tuesday, 25 Aug 2015 12:50 PM
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