Book club president rejects Napa Valley Wine Train apology

A women's book club say they were unfairly ejected from the Napa Valley Wine Train in St. Helena, Calif. on Saturday, August 22, 2015. (KGO-TV)

The head of a book club refused to accept an apology Tuesday from the Napa Valley Wine Train after her group was kicked off over the weekend.

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

The statement from the train's CEO read: "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."


Lisa Johnson, a leader of the "Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club," and her group were taken off the train on Saturday.

Train representatives claim a few other passengers complained that 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."

Napa Valley Wine Train spokesman Sam Singer says that post was a mistake. He also said 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 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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