A group of black women are suing a Napa Valley Wine Train for discrimination after they were kicked off in August for being too loud.
The 11 women, part of the Sistahs on the Reading Edge book club, are predominantly African American and, in a lawsuit filed Thursday, they contend the wine train staff displayed racial discrimination in their treatment, the Los Angeles Times reported.
At a press conference Thursday, the women said two of them were fired from their jobs after the incident and that others had their reputations tarnished, the Times said.
"That was the most humiliating experience I ever had in my entire life,” book club member Lisa Renee Johnson said at a press conference announcing the suit. “This is 2015, this can’t be happening. It just can’t happen again.”
At the time the incident occurred, the women's removal from the train became an Internet sensation. The hashtag #laughingwhileblack trended online in response to the report that the women were kicked off for laughing too loudly.
The wine train CEO apologized and said the staff would undergo sensitivity training, the Times said. The women were also offered a private car should they care to visit the train again. The company sold Sept. 15, and the new owner told the Times that the incident is being investigated by a former FBI agent the company hired.
In a Facebook statement after the incident
, the company said the women became physically and verbally abusive to guests and staff members, which was why the police were called.
Linda Carlson, the only white woman in the group, told the Times she didn't believe they would have been kicked off if they were all white.
"I truly believe from the moment we got on the train we were singled out," she said. "I truly know what it feels to be a black woman these days and to be discriminated against."
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