Toyota Under Fire For Only Serving Watermelon At Company Juneteenth Celebration

Toyota Under Fire For Only Serving Watermelon At Company Juneteenth Celebration

FOX 4 reports that a Toyota distribution center in Kansas City faces backlash from workers after their employer only served watermelon in celebration of Juneteenth on June 19.

Several employees shared photos with the news outlet of the incident and explained how it went down. Kim McCarthy said while at the celebration party, “I turned around and asked a member that’s on the DNI team — which is the diversity and inclusion team — I said, ‘What the heck? This isn’t OK.’ And he just laughed.” 

When asked if the Toyota center offered anything else besides the watermelon, McCarthy said, “No [and] I would like for management to at least apologize and accept that we are upset about it. They have yet to do that even,” McCarthy said.  

Jarret Bolden, a Black employee at the company, shared his anger with Fox 4. He said, “Acknowledge us as people. Stop taking us as a joke. A slap in the face, very disrespectful, you know. They preach Black lives matter, but [it’s] kind of like they were making a joke out of us.”

Bolden admitted that this kind of racism made it difficult for him to come to work in this kind of environment. Both Bolden and McCarthy told the outlet that the entirety of the diversity and inclusion tea is white. 

Toyota corporate communications sent a statement in response to the allegations. They claimed that several levels approved the watermelon of management. It read, “To embrace the Juneteenth holiday, a summer intern coordinated a celebration activity that included a presentation focused on the history, activities and foods of Freedom Day. This presentation was based on the individual’s personal experience celebrating the holiday with their family. In line with our core value of respect for people, Toyota supports educational activities that bring awareness and understanding of diverse cultures.”