Moschino USA Sued for Using Racist Codeword 'Serena' for Black Clients

A former Haitian-American employee is suing the Italian luxury clothing company over personal discrimination, and discrimination against black shoppers.

moschino lawsuit

Image via Getty/Jonathan Brady

moschino lawsuit

A former Moschino employee filed a lawsuit against the Italian luxury clothing company for discrimination against her and her store’s black clients.

According to TMZ, Shamael Lataillade claims her employers at a Moschino store in West Hollywood used a racist codename to describe black shoppers who didn’t look rich enough. “She says the woman would call them a ‘Serena’ and instructed other employees to follow and watch them closely -- sometimes even writing down their license plates,” the tabloid reports.

This lawsuit illustrates the all-too-frequent danger of shopping while black. It’s also easy to draw a line between this disgusting characterization and the racism Serena Williams continues to deal with, even as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Lataillade, who is a black, Haitian-American woman, is also suing the company over discrimination against her personally. “The supervisor discriminated against her and mocked her as someone who practices voodoo,” TMZ reports.  She was fired for speaking out about the “Serena” codeword and other forms of racism in her workplace. 

This is only the latest incident reminding us how the fashion world still fails to serve people of color with its internalized stereotypes. Hopefully, Moschino pays Lataillade what she deserves for the emotional trauma of working in such a toxic space. 

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