The CEO of a skincare company has issued an apology after she accused a man of "defacing private property" by chalking the words "Black Lives Matter" on the building where he lives in San Francisco.
The CEO of LAFACE skincare, Lisa Alexander, issued a public apology to James Juanillo, the man she accosted.
"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 racial inequalities. When I watch the video I am shocked and sad that I behaved the way I did. It was disrespectful to Mr. Juanillo and I am deeply sorry for that," Alexander's statement read, in part.
The video, posted to social media on Friday, shows Alexander and another man, later identified as Robert Larkin, speaking with Juanillo. In the video, Alexander accuses Juanillo of "defacing private property" as he stenciled "Black Lives Matter" in yellow chalk on a wall at his home.
Alexander and Larkin told Jaunillo that he was "free to express his opinion," but "that was not the way to do it."
Juanillo then asked if it would be OK if he were chalking his own property. Alexander and Larkin said that they knew Juanillo didn't own the property because they "knew who lived there."
Juanillo encouraged Alexander and Larkin to call the police if they felt unsafe. Juanillo told KGO in San Francisco that the two did call the police, but when officers arrived, they quickly recognized Juanillo as a resident.
"I didn't even show (the police) my ID," Juanillo told KGO.
KGO also spoke to one of the property owners, who said he does not know Alexander or Larkin.
The video of the incident spread quickly on social media, with many referring to Alexander as a "Karen" — a slang term for an entitled woman, often used in the context of racism.
Alexander's identity was not independently confirmed until she came forward to apologize. However, Birchbox — a makeup subscription service — released a statement on Twitter denouncing Alexander's actions after Twitter users brought the video to their attention. Birchbox said that it had not worked with LAFACE in "several years," but nonetheless had "officially cut ties with the company."
The video also prompted trolls to leave negative Yelp reviews of a Los Angeles-based skincare store, My LA Face, which has no connection to Alexander or her business, LAFACE. A representative for Yelp told KGO that those negative reviews would be removed.
Read Alexander's full statement below.
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. 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 racial inequalities. When I watch the video I am shocked and sad that I behaved the way I did. 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. 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.
Robert Larkin also issued an apology statement.
Over the last two days, I have had my eyes opened wide to my own ignorance of racial inequity, and I have thought a lot about my own personal blind spots. I was wrong to question Mr. Juanillo, and I was wrong to call the neighborhood police watch. It was wrong, and I am profoundly sorry for treating him with disrespect.
I have a lot to learn about how racism impacts people in their lives, daily, I have hurt my neighbor. I am full of regret and very sorry. I am hoping to meet with him soon to express my sincere apology and to ask for his forgiveness and guidance in helping me begin the journey towards being a kinder, more thoughtful and sensitive person.