UPDATE: Old Navy put out this statement: “Old Navy has the utmost respect for the military and we’re proud of our longstanding tradition of supporting American troops, including our own employees and their family members who serve. We spoke to Mr. Bennett and apologized for any miscommunication that may have occurred while he was shopping at our store. We also reiterated that he and his family are welcome, as always, to shop at any of our stores. We’re truly sorry for any misunderstanding or offense caused by this incident.”
ORIGINAL: Note to self: Don’t try to pass off a fashion statement with a full military dress uniform. One teenaged employee of Old Navy found out the hard way, when an Army soldier called him out on it. Not only is it a disgrace to our military who earned the right to wear the uniform, it is also illegal.
So then why is Army vet Aaron Bennett being fired for pointing out this illegal activity?! That’s EXACTLY what happened in a Jacksonville-area Old Navy.
Hey all you fashionistas out there: If you want to have the look of the military, join the military! And hey Old Navy, NEVER treat our vets with such little respect!!
Army veteran Aaron Bennett says he was banned from an Old Navy store in Jacksonville, Florida, after he pointed out a teen employee improperly wearing a Marine Corps uniform dress jacket complete with rank insignia, ribbons and a weapons badge, News4Jax.com reported Wednesday.
Bennett, who comes from a military family, knows that United States Code makes it illegal “to falsely represent oneself as having received any U.S. military decoration or medal.” The law making that illegal is known as the Stolen Valor Act.
According to Bennett, when he informed the store manager, he was approached by a deputy and mall security, who said he was banned from the store.
Bennett said he was trying to honor the uniform, especially considering that Jacksonville is a Navy town.
“It’s disgraceful, men have worked hard trying to earn that uniform and have died wearing that uniform,” he said.
The story has also made it to the Stolen Valor website and Facebook page as well as Old Navy’s Facebook page, where a number of people have expressed disgust with the company.
“My ‘Marine Family’ will no longer shop at your stores. Our veterans deserve better than the way Aaron Bennett was treated,” wrote Susan Howell Parsons.
“Shame, shame Old Navy. I’m so sad your company would ban a veteran who was only pointing out YOUR mistake! Your staff needs to be educated!” exclaimed Judy Yoder.
According to New4Jax.com, Old Navy’s corporate parent, Gap, Inc., released an apology:
“Old Navy has the utmost respect for the military and we’re proud of our longstanding tradition of supporting American troops, including our own employees and their family members who serve. We believe there was a misunderstanding between a customer and a store employee and are looking into the matter. We’re truly sorry for any misunderstanding or offense caused by this incident.”
Bennett, however, says he doesn’t accept the apology.
“It wasn’t about the jacket. I was willing to let it go. I was done with it,” he said. “The fact that they wanted to ban me from the store because I pointed out a total discrepancy, this being a Navy town, it dishonors a lot of people.”
Visitors to Old Navy’s Facebook page also rejected the apology.
“This so called ‘apology’ is no where near enough to make up for a former service member to be kicked out and banned for stating a Federal Law to a store manager so they could take the matter up with the employee,” wrote Kevin Goff, who said that his wife would no longer shop at Old Navy.