A video of a visually impaired French man and his guide dog being kicked out of a supermarket has sparked outrage on social media in France.
"Sir, I have hygiene standards to respect, I cannot accept any animals in the store.” This is what a supermarket employee told Arthur Aumoite, a visually impaired man, when he tried to enter a Monoprix store in Marseille with his guide dog Loya to buy groceries.
Aumoite posted a four-minute video of the interaction on his Facebook page on Monday along with a post where he describes being "violently thrown out by the supermarket director and a security guard".
In the video, the 25-year-old attempts to reason with the employee by citing French law that allows the presence of guide dogs in public places and refuses to leave the supermarket.
Article 88 of a French law dating back to 1987 allows guide dogs to be present in public places.
The video was shot by a third person who seemed to be with Aumoite, and has been viewed over 800,000 times as of this morning.
In his Facebook post, the Aumoite says he is sharing the footage of the incident in order to fight discrimination. "Loya gives me so much joy and autonomy, that I would never change for a white cane. Together, let's make sure that these behaviours change,” he wrote on Facebook.
Monoprix released an apology on Tuesday on Twitter and Facebook, strongly condemning the incident. "We were even more shocked because Monoprix has been engaged for several years in the fight against discrimination of all kinds.”
In a response to a journalist on Twitter, the French grocery chain said the director of the store apologised to the young man later that afternoon. “If for sanitary reasons, animals are not accepted in our stores, guides of the blind are obviously an exception.”
ANMCGA, the association for guide dogs and their owners, said to Euronews that Aumoite is a member of the group and contacted them for help publishing the video.
"The guide dog is a precious help for the visually impaired. If these refusals do exist, they do not weigh heavily against all the benefits of a guide dog.”
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