AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - A "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star claimed that she was racially profiled at a mall in Auburn over the weekend, and took to social media to air her grievances.
Now, in an interview with Allen Henry from the day of the incident, Claudia Jordan and R&B singer Ginuwine say they want an apology for being escorted out of the Auburn Mall on May 8 for wearing sunglasses inside of the building.
Jordan was in the area with Ginuwine who was performing in Opelika that same night. Jordan claims she saw white patrons wearing sunglasses inside of the mall who were not stopped.
"So we was like come on...sunglasses? Really? In a mall? Like that didn't make no sense," Ginuwine told Henry.
In the first Instagram video, she was told by a black mall security guard to remove her sunglasses "unless she had a medical problem," per the mall's policy. In her Instagram post, she wrote that it was the second security guard to tell her to remove her glasses.
"Never go to the Auburn Mall if you're a minority and you chose to wear sun glasses," Jordan wrote on Instagram on May 8. "Clearly it's against the law if you are black. Meanwhile we saw 2 white women and a white man wearing sunglasses who were not harassed or even approached. There were no signs saying that sun glasses were not allowed. Please do NOT tell me racism is dead. I'm a classy, educated woman with no criminal record simply wanting to shop in the local mall who was harassed by punk ass mall security and police were called. The message is clear- our KIND was not welcomed here and they are willing to use any excuse to get us all the way up outta there. Way to go Auburn Mall!"
A video posted to the Auburn Mall Facebook page of the incident has garnered more than 2 million page views.
Jordan also took to her Twitter account to voice her disdain.
"I've been up since 5 o'clock in the morning cause I work on my radio show, got in my tour bus and came down here to work. And to be treated like that when we're just coming to the mall to spend some money in the local mall - and we ended up not spending a dime. And I encourage people that have been treated like this to take their dollars elsewhere. That's the way to hit them," Jordan said.
Jordan says the incident felt like profiling because of the way they were treated compared to other shoppers.
"The problem is this - If it is indeed a policy where you have an issue with sunglasses, make it across the board. You can't target the six African-Americans that come through when we saw three white people come in there with sunglasses and they were not harassed. They were left alone to shop and spend money in that mall and we were not," Jordan said.
The celebrities say what they want now is simple.
"We want an apology," Ginuwine said.
"An apology would be nice. A public apology because they publicly humiliated us," Jordan said.
Jordan compared the incident to recent tensions regarding race across the country.
"With all these cases of police brutality and excessive force, when you have an incident like this, things can easily go from zero to 60 real quick," Jordan said. "And if we were less patient and less mature, this could have gone really bad and that's what's scary about the situation. Before you know it, we're resisting arrest or we're breaking some kind of law."
Meanwhile, Auburn Mall, owned by Hull Properties, released a statement on Facebook on the controversy, saying:
Hull Property Group has a code of conduct in place at the Auburn Mall to ensure all patrons have a safe and enjoyable shopping experience. The code of conduct states that 'apparel or accessories that may conceal or disguise the identity of the person is strictly prohibited'. We regret that our Auburn Mall management and security team misinterpreted this policy to include sunglasses as that was not our intent. We are taking appropriate action to ensure we do not have another incident of this nature again. We aim to treat all patrons with respect and will continue to work to improve the shopping experience at the Auburn Mall.
The story has been very popular on social media, including several other shoppers from the Auburn Mall who have come forward to speak on their experiences with sunglasses inside of the mall. Viewer Mary Ann Stiles emailed on Wednesday, saying:
I was stopped by the same security guard pictured in your story last Wednesday as I walked into the front main entrance of the Auburn Mall. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was with my two young children that I had just picked up from school. We were at the mall to pick up a quick after school snack at the Food Court. As we made our way towards the counter to place an order, the security guard approached us and said it was against the Mall dress code to wear sunglasses inside the Mall. I would have to leave if I didn't remove them (unless I had a medical condition). I was in such a rush with my two children that I hadn't even realized and taken the time to take them off! I removed my glasses while my two kids teased me about being a "troublemaker" and breaking the Mall dress code. That was such an odd experience that I had to share it with my friends and family.
Oh, by the way, myself and my two young children were not stopped due to racism. I am white.
WSFA East Alabama reporter Allen Henry contributed to this report.