If you are not white, then you are not welcomed on Netflix show. Even a show as "progressive" as "Queer Eye." At least this is what three non-white workers from the Old Navy in Center City say.
Netflix is shooting the fifth season of its Queer Eye series. And one of its locations is the Old Navy shop, where the Netflix crew was taping on August 21st. However, as three non-white workers of the shop claim, they were told by Old Navy's managers to "go to the back of the store," to disappear from Queer Eye's plan. One of these workers is Monae Alvarado, a Cambodian transgender person.
She says that non-white people had to "make place" for the white people as if they were unwanted on the show. She also said that Old Navy's management brought especially the new people from its other store, which were all white. Alvarado is embittered and disappointed, especially that she, together with other non-white employees worked hard the days before preparing the shop for the visit of Netflix's crew. "They had us standing in the back not to be seen while the other workers from another store get to work on our floor like it’s their store. The shade I tell you,” Monae wrote on Facebook.
“We were under the impression from our managers that we would be filmed and to remain professional. I was super-excited up until the day of and a random group of white folks came in to replace us at our own store,” said one of the workers that share Monae's opinion.
But both Old Navy and Netflix deny the accusations. Old Navy did it in a typical corporate-language way, saying that "Old Navy celebrates the diversity of its teams," and "fosters an environment of inclusion and belonging." Netflix also denied Monae's claims but did it in a much more personal way.
"I don’t know what happened behind the scenes, or overnight, but what I can tell you is that there [is] no way I would ever have allowed production to move POC [people of color] to the back,” wrote on the social media Tan France, one of the cast members of Queer Eye. He also added that he "had one person" join him on camera, that was African American.
But one of the employees of Old Navy quickly resumed it, saying that it “doesn’t explain the need to bring in additional white staffers to be in the background of our store.” The employee also said that "having one black person featured on the show when most of us already work there full time is a slap in the face," and "they would all be better off saying they didn’t want a bunch of black people on their show because they thought it would be ghetto."