The CEO of a San Francisco-based skin care company apologized Sunday for calling police on a man who was stenciling a Black Lives Matter sign in chalk in front of his own home in the posh Pacific Heights neighborhood, CBS San Francisco reports. A video of Tuesday's confrontation between Lisa Alexander and James Juanillo, who is Filipino, has been shared by millions on social media, triggering a wave of outrage.
A white couple call the police on me, a person of color, for stencilling a #BLM chalk message on my own front retaining wall. "Karen" lies and says she knows that I don't live in my own house, because she knows the person who lives here. #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/rOpHvKVwgP
- Jaimetoons (@jaimetoons) June 12, 2020
Alexander's company, LaFace Skincare, has taken its website offline.
After several attempts by CBS San Francisco to obtain a comment from Alexander, she sent the station a statement Sunday.
"I want to apologize directly to Mr. Juanillo. There are not enough words to describe how truly sorry I am for being disrespectful to him last Tuesday when I made the decision to question him about what he was doing in front of his home," she wrote. "I should have minded my own business. The last 48 hours has taught me that my actions were those of someone who is not aware of the damage caused by being ignorant and naive to."
"When I watch the video I am shocked and sad that I behaved the way I did," she continued "It was disrespectful to Mr. Juanillo and I am deeply sorry for that. I did not realize at the time that my actions were racist and have learned a painful lesson. I am taking a hard look at the meaning behind white privilege and am committed to growing from this experience."
Juanillo has said he was open to sitting down with Alexander, an offer she seemed to accept Sunday.
"I would love to have coffee with Mr. Juanillo in our neighborhood so I can apologize in person and share a dialogue where I can continue to learn and grow and be a better person."
Juanillo was stenciling "Black Lives Matter" with chalk on Tuesday in front of his home when he was confronted by Alexander and her walking companion, who eventually called the police.
"She (Alexander) decided to call men with guns because of chalk art," said Juanillo, who's lived in Pacific Heights for 18 years and runs a dog-walking business.
In the video posted on Juanillo's Facebook and Twitter account with the username: @jaimetoons, the couple can be heard saying, "Is this your property?"
"We're not doing anything illegal," says the couple.
"Neither am I," says Juanillo.
"Yes you are, actually, because it's private property," says the couple.
"Call the cops," Juanillo says, defiantly.
"We will do so," says the couple.
Juanillo told CBS San Francisco he knows many of the police officers in the neighborhood and says they didn't even get out of their car when checking out the call shortly after the video was taken.
He said he's a proud, gay Filipino who knows what discrimination feels like.
"This isn't the first time I've experienced fear or even loathing that just kind of creeps out," Juanillo said.
Birchbox, a makeup distribution service, posted a statement on its Instagram account saying it's "officially cut ties with LaFace, and condemns the actions of Lisa Alexander."
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