• Second Victoria's Secret store in Memphis area accused of racial profiling

    By: Kristin Leigh

    Updated:

    SHELBY CO., Tenn. - A second Victoria's Secret in Shelby County is the subject of a complaint about racial profiling and intimidation. 

    RELATEDOfficer who handcuffed black woman in Victoria’s Secret did nothing wrong, police say

    Two shoppers reached out to FOX13 after they saw last week's story about a Jovita Jones Cage's experience at Collierville's Store in Carriage Crossing.

    RELATEDBlack woman handcuffed, accused of shoplifting after returning items to Victoria's Secret

    Shemica Benca and her friend Phalon Norwood told FOX13 Cage's story sounded similar to what they experienced in April, at the Victoria's Secret in Wolfchase Galleria.

    Benca provided correspondence with Victoria's Secret, which included a letter she sent describing the day she says she was treated differently because of the color of her skin. 

    As they shopped for lingerie, Benca believes a store manager at the store in Memphis directed a security guard to keep an eye on them. She said she was treated like a shoplifting suspect. 


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    "If he had proof, surely we shouldn't have been allowed in the store," Benca wrote the company. "That wasn't the case. I guess we just looked like two suspicious colored women." 

    Benca said she and her friend felt humiliated, as the security guard followed both shoppers around the store.

    "Security followed us to the dressing room," Benca wrote. "This lady literally stood next to us, didn't even give us space to look or shop, no privacy.

    "The only thing I could gather was we (were) racially profiled because we don't live in the area. We don't visit the store often."

    Victoria's Secret sent the following statement in response to the incident: 

    We're terribly sorry that these customers had this hurtful experience. This doesn't represent our values or who we want to be. We are fully committed to ensuring that all of our customers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

    A spokesperson for Wolfchase Galleria confirmed the security guard is employed by Victoria's Secret, not the mall. 

    In response to their complaint about the employees, Benca said she was offered a $150 gift card. 

    She pointed out that her story is similar to Cage's experience in Collierville. The Howard University graduate was handcuffed by a Collierville police officer, after a store manager wrongly accused her of shoplifting.

    Last week, Cage told FOX13 she was also offered a gift card.

    "I told her a $100 gift card is not going to take back the discrimination, humiliation, and defamation that I faced in that store that day," Cage said. 

    Benca and Norwood told FOX13 they feel the same way.

    After investigating the incident in Collierville, Victoria's Secret fired the store employee who called police. 

    Victoria's Secret did not say Wednesday whether the store employee or the security guard at the location in Memphis would be disciplined, adding that the incident was still being reviewed as of Wednesday night.

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