The young woman who accused her co-worker of making anti-Semitic comments at the New York health food store where they worked put out a statement detailing the incident — in which the produce cooler was compared to a gas chamber — and revealing the management’s lack of response.
Sarah Shabanowitz, an 18-year-old college student, put out a statement after hearing her co-worker, Will Sullivan, was fired from Mother Earth’s Storehouse in Kingston. Shabanowitz wrote that she was getting items from the produce cooler on March 11 when Sullivan, who was standing nearby, said, “Now we’re going to put you in the gas chamber,” and turned off the light. In response to her shocked expression, he called her a “f—king Jew.”
Shabanowitz said she told a manager and Sullivan apologized, but they were still expected to continue working together. She was told to stay quiet. A Jewish manager told her that his friends have “called me worse.” But she complained again when Sullivan yelled at her for “making him look bad.” That’s when a manager allegedly got angry with Shabanowitz for telling others that Sullivan was an anti-Semite and gave her the option to stay or quit. After bursting into tears at the register, she left.
Shabanowitz said that Sullivan was fired after her mom wrote a Facebook post about the situation.
Her lawyer, Ilann Maazel of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, said the counsel will “pursue every available remedy in response to Mother Earth’s appalling conduct.”
“I will not be quiet. No one should be subjected to anti-Semitism or racism or sexism at work,” Shabanowitz concluded in her statement. “To this day, Mother Earth has not apologized to me for what happened.”