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Sephora to close US stores for diversity training after R&B singer says she was racially profiled


Company claims the training isn't in response to a particular event

Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Sephora

Sephora beauty stores will close all of its U.S. stores, offices, and distribution centers Wednesday to hold a day of diversity training.

The news of the company's training day follows an incident involving R&B artist SZA. The singer claimed that she was racially profiled while shopping at a Sephora store in April, Reuters reported.

"We have been informed of an incident at our Calabasas store and in addition to reaching out to SZA directly, we are gathering more information about the incident in order to take the proper next steps," Sephora spokeswoman Emily Shapiro told Reuters in an email. "We take complaints like this very seriously, profiling on the basis of race is not tolerated at Sephora."

What's the story?

SZA tweeted that an employee, whom she identified as "Sandy," had called security to make sure she wasn't stealing from a store in Calabasas, California. The singer reportedly worked at a Sephora store in the past.

"Lmao Sandy Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn't stealing . We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy," the Grammy-nominated singer tweeted April 30.

The LVMH-owned company responded to SZA on Twitter.

"Hi, SZA. We're sorry to hear about your experience at our Calabasas store and appreciate you bringing this to our attention. We want to let you know we take complaints like this very seriously and are actively working with our teams to address the situation immediately," Sephora tweeted at the time.

"You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores," Sephora wrote in another response.

Shapiro told Reuters that the inclusivity workshops weren't scheduled in "response to any one event."

The training is part of the company's "We Belong to Something Beautiful" campaign and had been in the works for several months, she added.

What else?

Last year, Starbucks closed about 8,000 stores in the U.S. to hold racial-bias training after two black men were arrested for defiant-trespassing at a Philadelphia store.

The store manager said she had called police on the men who didn't order anything and refused to leave the store when asked. The location reportedly had problems with loiterers.

The men claimed the issue was based on their race.

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