Piper Phillips said an employee at her local store, Joanne Fabrics, told her son that boys should not wear dresses.
Phillips said her son became interested in wearing dresses a year ago, adding that it made him happy.
The employee has since been terminated after Phillips went viral on TikTok.
A mom on TikTok, which is now going viral, said a Joann Fabrics employee made several sarcastic comments about her son while they were shopping for fabrics to make him a dress – leading the company to fire the worker.
Piper Phillips, 37, who has been a seamstress for four years and also goes to Palousedressco on TikTok, took her 7-year-old son to her local Joann Fabrics store in Moscow, Idaho on September 7 to pick up materials for his dress.
Phillips said she wanted her son to cheer up after she got a call from his school principal saying bullies had made fun of him for wearing a dress.
At the store, Phillips and her son picked up a Spider-Man plaid. At the counter, the clerk asked Philip’s son what he was making – and he responded with a Spider-Man dress. The unnamed employee expressed confusion about why Phillips would make a dress for her son.
“She just stopped what she was doing,” Phillips recalls. “I stopped measuring and asking us more questions. I tried so hard to stop the conversation a few times, and it kept going.”
The employee then began lecturing the two and told her son directly that boys cannot wear dresses, according to Phillips. Phillips said the employee became angry and wouldn’t stop lecturing the two even after the store’s shift manager came to ask her to stop.
“I was seeing red, and I was just trying to stay calm, and I didn’t want to… I was very aware that my son was watching and listening and that I needed to model the appropriate behavior, and that’s really hard to do right now,” Phillips said.
“So I tried really hard to stay calm, to speak frankly, to the point, and to set clear boundaries. I told her, ‘Stop.’ Several times.”
Phillips told Insider that her son took an interest in wearing a dress about a year ago after watching Frozen.
“I bought him an Elsa outfit, put on the dress, rolled up, smiled so hard and loved it so much,” Phillips said. And a few months later, he found this fabric in my sewing room that had pink butterflies on it, and he was like, ‘Mom, I want to wear this outfit. And I said, Well, you’ve come to the right place.
A week after the incident, Phillips posted on TikTok about her experience in the store and garnered more than 4 million views.
An Insider spokesperson said in a statement that the employee was fired after making “inappropriate, judgmental and degrading comments.”
“JOANN totally stands for inclusivity and creativity for everyone, and we are proud to support the thousands of our customers and team members who are part of the LGBTQ+ community,” a company spokesperson said. “We do not tolerate discrimination, disrespect or harassment in any way and terminate a team member immediately upon investigation.”
Phillips, who was also a former shift manager on the Joann Fabrics story, said she remembers working with the employee who would occasionally evangelize while on the job.
“I’m glad to see she’s no longer around,” she said. “But it’s a reflection of that store’s culture and the company, how this kind of thing slips through the cracks and how that was able to last for so long, in a company with an all-encompassing diversity orientation supposedly.”
“I’d like to see more of an accomplishment, I think, before we go back,” she added.
Phillips told Insider that she spoke with her son after trying the store and told him that people would say rude things but be themselves and be proud of himself, and gave advice to other parents when considering trying it.
“I would say your child will learn from you how to think, how to feel and how to act, so if you model behavior and model the love, trust, and support you want your child to have — and it’s like magic — your child will receive that message,” Phillips said.
Read the original article on Insider
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