A Georgia Ikea store is facing backlash after promoting a special menu for Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans, that featured fried chicken and watermelon as two of its star items.
Now, the Atlanta branch store is apologizing after being called out for its ignorance both on social media and by its very own employees.
IKEA Juneteenth menu upsets employees and customers www.youtube.com
Employees were sent the menu in a company-wide email, where they were shocked to find a menu that held fried chicken, watermelon, mac 'n' cheese, and collard greens.
"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 during the slave time," an anonymous employee said to CBS 46.
About 33 employees staged a walkout in protest of the menu.
"It caused a lot of people to be upset. People actually wanted to quit, people weren't coming back to work."
According to employees, the store then only delayed the menu by a day rather than changing it, thinking people wouldn't notice.
"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," an Ikea spokesperson said to CBS 46.
However, though the menu changed, the food served reportedly did not, according to an anonymous employee. A photo they sent to the news outlet showed fried chicken, mac-n-cheese, and collard greens.
"I'm just frankly disappointed in the learning process," said the employee.
"You shouldn't learn after you have insulted all of your black employees."
Ikea also did not include employees of color in making the menu for Juneteenth.
"We are committed to educating ourselves and putting a process in place that will allow us to thoughtfully honor Juneteenth in the future," the store said.
That process remains unclear.