Ikea issued a watered down apology for the watermelon and fried chicken menu on Juneteenth was rejected by the NAACP.
An Atlanta branch of the Swedish franchise is in the dog house what employees denounced as a highly offensive “special menu” curated to highlight the newly made Federal holiday, Juneteenth.
“We got it wrong and we sincerely apologize”, Ikea reps told the Post of the petty menu. The menu featured fried chicken, watermelon, mac n cheese, potato salad, collard greens and candied yams.
James Woodall, president of the NAACP’s Georgia state chapter was not trying to hear it, really. #respectfully
He told TMZ that Ikea’s petty apology was just “an empty, performance gesture”. He feels like Ikea needs to give a clear cut answer to their actions. Critics called out Ikea for hyping “soul food” dishes that have historically been used to demean African Americans through stereotyping, with multiple employees calling out of work in protest, according to a local news channel.
“You cannot say serving watermelon on Juneteenth is a soul food menu when you don’t even know the history. They used to feed slaves watermelon”, said an anonymous employee when interviewed by Atlanta’s CBS 46.
“It caused a lot of people to be upset. People actually wanted to quit. People weren’t coming back to work.”
An Ikea spokesperson sent The Post a lengthy statement on Tuesday, noting that employees are coming back to work the “lunch menu was created with the best of intentions” and cultural dialogue will be ongoing.
“In addition to offering Juneteenth as one of our paid holidays nationally, our Ikea Atlanta store has recognized Juneteenth with our co-workers for the past four years. To honor the day, a lunch menu was created with the best of intentions, including recommendations from black co-workers,” a spokesperson said. “We value our co-workers’ voices and changed the menu after receiving feedback that the foods that were selected are not reflective of the deeply meaningful traditional foods historically served as part of Juneteenth celebrations. We got it wrong, and we sincerely apologize. We are committed to educating ourselves and putting a process in place that will allow us to thoughtfully honor Juneteenth in the future.”