After Jean-Paul Guerlain in France, it's now the turn of Laurice Rahme in the United-States, the founder of Bond No.9, to make the news with the report that her brand has been hit by a racist bias lawsuit brought on by former employees Veronica Robledo and Karin Widmann.
According to the two women, the owner of the New York city based perfumeries had intimated her employees to use the phrase "We need the lightbulbs changed" whenever a dark-skinned customer would enter a store as Rahme feared that her goods might get stolen once again since she herself claims that the only thieves she saw, but apparently did not have arrested, had been African-Americans....
Robledo who had been with Bond No.9 for 9 years prior to her dismissal says that she witnessed a pattern whereby she was de facto faced with a segregationist attitude as she was not allowed to help "white customers" she thinks because of the dark color of her skin.
Rahme also associated her automatically with a shoplifter in another store from the one in which she worked because of the colors of their skins, it seems.
When the two former employees addressed the issue of racism with their boss in Feburary, they got fired and were moreover accused of defrauding her of $25,000.
Laurice Rahme denies being a racist although she acknowledges using the incriminated code phase but not just for dark-skinned customers, but apparently everyone that might look suspect, including African-Americans as she does stress that, to her knowledge, the thieves were "all African-Americans".
Veronica Robledo and Karin Widmann are asking for $3 million in the lawsuit accusing Bond. No.9 of attacking their civil rights.
Laurice Rahme is no stranger to legal controversy as she has been in legal actions in the past with perfume house Creed, but also an independent perfumer over the use of the word "Peace" and had herself to change the design for the perfume Bryant Park due to a copyrights infringement lawsuit brought on by Pucci. This is however the first time that accusations of racism have been leveraged at her.