Not only is Zara’s founder, Amancio Ortega, the second-richest man in the world, he’s also a big ol’ bigot—according to a former employee.
In March of this year, Ian Jack Miller, the ex-general counsel for the brand, filed a complaint with his lawyer accusing the retailer of discrimination due to his sexual orientation and ethnic background.
According to the NY Post, Miller would often witness racist and homophobic behavior among upper management, including e-mails that depicted President Barack Obama in KKK garb and an Aunt Jemima pancake box with a Confederate flag Photoshopped onto it. We know: incredibly whack and just flat out stupid.
A day after Zara officials received the complaint from Miller’s lawyer, they decided to terminate him from his position. But Miller wasn’t going down without a fight. Yesterday, he filed a $40 million discrimination lawsuit against Zara, insisting he was fired solely because he was gay, Jewish, and American. The year before he was let go, he received 110 percent of his target bonus and would consistently get strong performance reviews.
According to court documents, Zara’s management team also showed preference to Spanish employees, giving them more opportunities than those from other countries. There was also a section in the filing that mentions an instance in which a manager “spoke with senior executives about prostitutes, openly criticized transgendered individuals and demeaned gender non-conformism.”
Though these allegations are pretty severe, this isn’t the first time Zara has been accused of anti-Semitic and racist actions. In August of 2014, the store pulled a striped children’s shirt with a star on the chest, after people complained that it resembled a concentration camp uniform. Earlier that month, the store also faced criticism for a slogan T-shirt that read “White Is the New Black.” Remember that shit?
Of course, Zara officials say they are shocked by these accusations. A spokesperson for the brand told the NY Post, “The allegations contained in a plaintiff’s press release today are shocking, and – although we have not yet seen a copy of the lawsuit – we will respond strongly and vigorously to these allegations in the Court […] We do not tolerate any behavior that is discriminatory or disrespectful, but value each individual’s contributions to our dynamic organization.”