The talk show host used the end of her Hot Topics segment to explain that she hadn’t actually witnessed security following the trio and that she had inadvertently left out “the most important part of the story.”
Previously Williams explained that she, Hampton and Leakes “shopped. We went upstairs and had lunch—the whole bit. The three of us takeover. And can I tell you something about security? They treated us like ‘the hood’—that’s how they treated us.”
“You can earn what you want, you can do what you want. But when you are what you are, you better not be surprised about how people treat you. We were followed like we were about to do something,” Williams added on Monday’s show.
By Wednesday, the daytime talk show host said that she was told that they were being followed as she was being ushered into her car service.
“Sometimes I get out here and I tell you a story and I leave off bullet points and I’m like damn I forgot to say that part,” said Williams. “I was told that we were followed by security.”
“I was saying goodbye and one of them says, ‘You realize were being followed the whole time?’ That’s the part I left out of my story,” she added.
A spokesperson from Bergdorf Goodman told ESSENCE in a statement Wednesday: “Bergdorf Goodman and its parent company Neiman Marcus Group are committed to ensuring that all shoppers, guests, and employees are treated with respect and dignity in a safe and secure shopping environment. Our policies strictly prohibit profiling of any kind, and any claims will be thoroughly investigated.”
During her Hot Topics segment, Williams admitted, she may have been responding to a previous negative personal experience at the department.
“I hadn’t been in that particular department store in twenty years,” she said. She recounted shopping at the tony midtown Manhattan location previously and immediately being ushered to the plus-size section.
“They took me immediately to the big girl department and I felt intense security around me in this store and I said not only don’t I like this neighborhood, I don’t like this store I’m not going back there.”
In an exclusive interview with ESSENCE, Hampton confirmed that she, Williams and Leakes were allegedly followed by store security. Hampton good-naturedly suggested reasons why this may have taken place.
“Maybe they’re infatuated with us, maybe this a new security that they’re offering,” Hampton said.
During an interview with The Breakfast Club earlier this week, Leakes said Hampton told her they were being followed as well.
“Marlo mentioned it to me, she said ‘Do you know that security has been following us since we got here?’”
Hampton thinks better customer service could have helped soothe the negative feelings she had about their presence—perhaps a “Hello Miss” or a “How are you today” might have made all the difference.
“We need people to really be better trained in diversity because my money is not black, it’s not brown, it’s not white–it’s green like theirs,” she said.