Former world no.1 Serena Williams has been racially abused again, this time by Italian shoe firm Gianvito Rossi. This is the second time in two months that the 2017 Australian Open winner has been racially abused.
The first instance came when Ilie Nastase made comments about Serena's unborn child that said: "Let's see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?"
Things got a bit serious this time around as bosses at Italian shoe firm Gianvito Rossi have been accused of branding Serena as 'disgusting' and refused to give her a celebrity discount because she's black, a former employee claims in a new racial discrimination lawsuit.
The employee, Whitney Wilburn, who is black, said she was recruited to work for Gianvito Rossi in 2015 but once she started working, her boss Grace Mazzilli was immediately "hostile to Wilburn based upon her race and age." Wilburn also said that her experience with Mazzilli left no doubt about Mazzilli's racial animosity toward African Americans.
"For instance, when the world famous athlete Serena Williams, via her staff, asked for a discount on her extensive purchases, Gianvito managers responded with racially disparaging comments about Ms. Williams which made it clear that the company did not want African American women to wear its shoes," the suit says.
"When later pressured to do so by a contact at Vogue magazine, they offered only a fraction of the discount that white celebrities typically receive."
Wilburn also mentioned that her boss threw a number of parties and social events for all boutiques that were managed by white employees but never once for her boutique. The suit says that she was the only black employee in the company for a year-and-a-half and was fired in early 2017 without a warning and was replaced by much younger white manager.
Serena is yet to respond to these comments and an employee at Gianvito Rossi said that Mazzilli was unavailable to comment because she's travelling in Italy.