Women Kicked Off Wine Train File $11 Million Suit: 'All We Did Was Laugh While Being Black'
The women kicked off a train during a tour of California's wine country for supposedly making too much noise have filed an $11 million lawsuit against the train owners.
Nine of the women, who were traveling together as part of a book club, spoke to INSIDE EDITION about what happened that day.
“It's humiliating to even have it happen to you. It's humiliating to have to talk about it in 2015. You think it shouldn't happen to people,” said one of the women.
At first, everyone was having a great time as the "Sistahs on the Reading Edge" book club took their seats on the Napa Valley wine train, a luxury excursion through the nation's most famous wine-growing region.
The women come from various backgrounds: Tira McDonald is a marketing manager for Wells Fargo; Lisa Johnson is an author; the eldest, Katherine Neal, is an 85-year-old great-grandmother.
“We were all enjoying ourselves. We weren't any louder than anyone else, there were people who were sitting next to us who were laughing and drinking just like we were,” said one of the women.
But the women said they were repeatedly told to keep the noise down because they were upsetting other passengers.
“I looked around, and no one else was being told to keep the voices down,” said one of the women.
Asked if any of them were drinking too much, one of the women said: “No. Four of us don't even drink!”
About an hour into the trip, the women were kicked off the train. A video shows them as they climbed out. They were met by four waiting cops, although no one was charged with any offense.
“All of you come with guns? Four of you come?” one of the women asked the cops.
Neal said of the incident: “I did not like it at all.”
Another woman chimed in: “They have bachelorette parties on the train and everything. People are belligerent and drunk, and we are not.”
Alisa Carr said being kicked off the train was like "a perp walk."
She added: “Shame on you, Napa Valley Wine Train, for doing that to all these beautiful ladies.”
The women said they were personally humiliated by what happened.
Mail carrier Linda Carlson was the only white member of the group on the train that day. Asked if she felt like her friends were targeted because they were black, she said: “A hundred percent.”
The Napa Valley Wine Train has apologized, saying its handling of the situation was "100 percent wrong."
The women are now filing an $11million lawsuit against the owners of the wine train, alleging discrimination.
The woman claim they were "publicly degraded," and say several white passengers were "inebriated and acting boisterous, but these groups were not kicked off the wine train."
“All we did was laugh while being black, and I truly believe that's why we were removed from the train,” said one of the women.
The Napa Valley Wine Train told IE in a statement that they take the allegations of discrimination very seriously, but say they cannot comment on the lawsuit until they complete their own investigation.