Book club president rejects Napa Valley Wine Train apology

NAPA, Calif. -- The head of a book club is refusing to accept an apology from the Napa Valley Wine Train. The train's CEO apologized Tuesday morning after the women in the book club were kicked off the train over the weekend.

The incident has sparked the hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack, since most of the women in the club are African-American.

The statement says: "The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue. We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests."

But Lisa Johnson, a leader of the "Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club," is rejecting the apology as well as the company's invitation to come back.

Johnson's group of 11 was taken off the train on Saturday. The train claims a few other passengers complained the group was too loud. But then the group was offended to see a Facebook post from the Wine Train, which has since been deleted. It read in part: "Following verbal and physical abuse towards other guests and staff, it was necessary to get our police involved."

"That is absolutely untrue," Johnson said. "We have never, we never touched anybody."

PR consultant Sam Singer, has been hired as a spokesperson for the Napa Valley Wine Train, he says that post was a mistake.

He also says the police were never called in to make an arrest.

"I think the police were called to ensure that in case there had been liquor consumption that they were okay to drive home," said Wine Train spokesperson Sam Singer. "That wasn't the case, so it was unnecessary to have them there."

Wine train officials are promising diversity training for their employees in the future.

ABC7 News reporter Sergio Quintana contributed to this story.
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