The American Indian Graduate Center Stands in Solidarity with Nicole Johnny

AIGC condemns the racially motivated harassment Nicole Johnny endured at the Los Angeles KKW Beauty pop-up shop.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

On June 30th, 2018, Nicole Johnny, an AIGC scholarship alumna, affirms she was subjected to racially-motivated discrimination and harassment at the Kim Kardashian West Beauty Brand pop-up shop in Los Angeles, California. Nicole, a citizen of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, will receive her MBA next month from Pepperdine University and was visiting the area for a school related assignment when she and her family decided it was the perfect chance to attend the special KKW pop-up shop event . After waiting in line for an extended period of time, just like every other attendee, Nicole prepared to step inside the shop upon what she believed to be her turn. However, she asserts she was rudely stopped by one of the security guards at the doorway and told to “Get back in line,” or else he would “call and have her deported”.

Nicole was shocked by his language, and when the guard asked her to confirm whether she was “Mexican”, she informed him that she was a Diné woman from New Mexico. Following their initial exchange, Nicole was able to enter the store. Unfortunately, the same security guard approached her as she was sampling products and informed her that she would need to buy an item or leave. Nicole inquired as to why he was giving her such directions when customers’ time inside the store could be used to sample the available makeup, and her mother was making a purchase just across the floor. Still, to avoid more conflict, Nicole moved to the side of the store away from the merchandise and waited for her mother.

“This incident is troubling for multiple reasons,” said Angelique Albert, executive director of AIGC. “First, it is alarming that an employee of a global beauty brand that is supposed to herald diversity would act in a blatantly racist and discriminatory manner toward a customer. Secondly, whether a person is of Mexican or other Hispanic/Latino origin should have no bearing on how they are treated, nor should their United States citizenship status be questioned in such a situation.”

AIGC stands in solidarity with Nicole Johnny and urges KKW Beauty to take the appropriate steps to reconcile the harmful actions of its employee.