Victoria’s Secret is responding to an ugly incident that took place in one of their stores in a New Jersey mall this week — and now, the company says they are investigating everything.
As we reported earlier this week, “Victoria’s Secret Karen” went viral after a white woman — later identified as Abigail Elphick, according to a police report — appeared to attack a Black woman inside one of the company’s stores at Short Hills Mall in Essex County, New Jersey.
The Black woman, later identified as Ijeoma Ukenta, videotaped the entire incident on her phone. In the clip, which went viral online this week, you can see Elphick screaming, crying, and creating a disturbance in the store after allegedly charging at Ukenta and trying to hit her.
On Tuesday night, Victoria’s Secret responded to the incident with a public statement. While vague, the company’ message does specifically mention “the video taken in our store” and notes they are looking deeper into whatever is going on (below):
“Associate and customer safety is our top priority and we are committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all. The video taken in our store is unsettling and we have initiated a full investigation. Our associates followed our protocols and immediately called our Emergency Operations Center as well as mall security for support during the altercation between our customers.”
They also added:
“We are dedicated to continuing this critical conversation and demonstrating our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion through our actions and our words.”
Here’s the full tweet:
Associate and Customer safety is our top priority, and we are committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all. pic.twitter.com/vREtLvC2o0
— Victoria’s Secret (@VictoriasSecret) July 13, 2021
As we reported, Ukenta has now published a GoFundMe page seeking money for a lawyer to help respond legally to the incident. As of Thursday morning, that page has now raised more than $100,000 of what was originally a $20,000 goal.
As expected, Twitter users appear to be almost entirely on Ukenta’s side with this one. After Victoria’s Secret published their statement (above), hundreds jumped in to share their opinions about the situation. Here are just a few of the responses:
“‘Altercation’ suggests two are possibly at fault here. It says to me you don’t understand or care about the issues here and quickly tweeted a standard response once the vid went viral. ‘Karen’ was clearly the aggressor and she & the ppl standing by were at fault. Do better.”
“I didn’t see your employees do anything to assist in the safety of the victim. They allowed that woman to be assaulted by the unstable woman. I’ll never step foot in one of your stores again. I’ve been a customer since you were just a catalog in the early 90s. No respect for POC.”
“Ijeoma Ukenta was minding her business until Abigail felt the need to harass her! That’s why she started recording for her own safety because that’s more evidence than her word against hers. Every action has a reason. Abigail needs to be arrested for racially motivated attacks.”
“This was not an altercation between customers! This was a violent and dangerous woman clearly behaving in a manner that threatened the safety of your customers and your staff allowed it. Abigail Elphick should have left that store in handcuffs.”
Do U agree with those takes, Perezcious readers? VS recently underwent a rebrand, so this clearly isn’t the look they’re going for. Sound OFF with any comments you may have on this ongoing situation down in the section (below)…
[Image via Ijeoma Ukenta/YouTube]