STILLWATER, Okla. – A Stillwater woman who claims a retailer discriminated against her because of her weight says she has received an apology.
Sherene Zarrabi worked at Dainty Hooligan in Stillwater until Monday.
Zarrabi says she quit after she saw an email from the owner of the retail store, concerning the store’s social media account.
Something I want to make sure you keep in mind: I want size small, the stereotypical “model” type to model our clothes. Please, use our pictures of our models if Stillwater store can’t find someone who would be considered “model material.” This is not to put anyone down but to communicate the expectations of presenting our brand.
Don’t take it personal. All I ask for is really good representation. In exchange for the freedom, I ask you take down all pictures of anyone that does not fit the criteria.
Zarrabi then noticed all of her posts were deleted from the Stillwater store’s Instagram page.
Feeling attacked and discriminated against, Zarrabi posted her reaction on social media.
This is an email I was forwarded earlier. I just want to start by saying this: I am fully comfortable with who I am and the way I look. I have recently been attacked and discriminated against by the owner of Dainty Hooligan. She went on our stores Instagram and deleted all of the pictures where I was modeling the clothing and then sent this email to my manager. I do not want to represent or support a business that has such archaic values and beliefs. THIS is the reason young girls have body image issues. This is disgusting. I quit immediately and I suggest that my friends and family do not support Dainty Hooligan. Love yourself, no matter what you look like.
Her post was shared more than 2,600 times.
A representative at Dainty Hooligan’s headquarters in California denied Zarrabi’s claims and insisted they only took the photos down due to their low quality.
However, the owner, Jessica Issler, told the O’Colly that she did take the photos down due to Zarrabi’s size.
“I am accountable for the email that was sent,” Issler said in a phone interview with the O’Colly. “I never meant to be mean or attacking, but I’m not apologizing for the unsaid fashion rule.”
At first, Issler refused to apologize and said some more hurtful things about Zarrabi.
“My No. 1 priority is the safety of my staff, so the evil and lack of positivity is terrifying,” Issler told the O’Colly. “This girl has now created a hostile work environment because she has a sad body image of herself.”
“She’s not mentally healthy,” Issler continued.
After doing several interviews with the media, including a story with KFOR, Zarrabi says the owner of the retail store sent her the following apology titled, “High five, good job, I’m impressed, thank you & sorry ;)” :
After 24 hours of digesting my email that I clearly didn’t think twice about before I pressed the send button, I have an honest apology & fair observation. At first looking at my email, if I put myself in my own shoes I’m thinking “this is nonsense, hypersensitive and taken way out of context” BUT if I put myself in your shoes I’m thinking “wow, this sucks. I’m hurt, what the heck! Not cool” And so for that reason I am truly apologetic. I can definitely see where feelings got hurt and negativity from there festered from something I take full responsibility for. Glad that you have great support & found some encouragement. I wish you the best of luck and honestly I don’t have any ill or hard feelings toward you and I want to thank you for a VERY humbling experience, always good to get a dose of that and learn from it. Very sorry if I have ever put any negative thoughts or feelings in your head. Keep your head up, move forward onto bigger and better things and I never got a chance to at least say thank you for all you’ve done for the store! Too bad we never have had the chance to meet.
Although Zarrabi appreciates the owner’s apology, she says it doesn’t change the “nasty, disgusting things” Issler said about her.