Atlanta Ikea faces backlash over Juneteenth menu

An Atlanta-based Ikea faced backlash this week after employees and customers said that its menu created for Juneteenth was offensive.

Multiple employees and customers complained that a menu, which included watermelon and fried chicken, was racially insensitive, according to a Monday interview with a local CBS affiliate station.

“You cannot say serving watermelon on Juneteenth is a soul food menu when you don’t even know the history, they used to feed slaves watermelon during the slave time,” an employee who chose not to be identified told the news outlet.

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The menu was reportedly circulated to employees in an email ahead of the observation of the Juneteenth holiday on Friday. The email stated that the menu would be served in an effort to “honor and persevere Black Americans,” CBS46 reported.

Mac and cheese and collard greens were also reportedly featured on the menu, which CBS46 reported was created without the input of any Black employees. Thirty-three people called out from work following the menu's release, the outlet noted.

"It caused a lot of people to be upset. People actually wanted to quit, people weren’t coming back to work," an unnamed employee said. "None of the coworkers who sat down to create the menu, no one was Black."

News of the backlash comes after President BidenJoe BidenFirst lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure Biden backs effort to include immigration in budget package MyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News MORE last week signed legislation into law making Juneteenth a national holiday. Juneteenth — June 19 — marks the day in 1865 when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas, emancipating the remaining enslaved people in the state.

Former President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years earlier.

After noticing that several employees were offended by the food selection, the store manager issued an apology, according to CBS46.

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“She said I truly apologize the menu came off subjective,” an unnamed employee said.

An alternative menu was reportedly created that included collard greens, corn bread, mashed potatoes and meatloaf.

A local customer also expressed their discontent with the menu selection to CBS46.

"I’m just frankly disappointed in the learning process, you shouldn’t learn after you have insulted all of your black employees," the customer told the news outlet.