By MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News
(SAN FRANCISCO) — A video of a white couple confronting a person of color stenciling Black Lives Matter in chalk outside his San Francisco home has been viewed more than 12 million times.
James Juanillo posted the video to his Twitter account late last week. In the nearly 2-minute video of the June 9 incident, a woman and man ask if that is his property and if he is “defacing private property.”
“If I did live here, and it was my property, this would be absolutely fine?” Juanillo can be heard asking them. “And you don’t know if I live here, or if this is my property?”
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
The woman, who identifies herself as Lisa in the video, says she knows “the person who lives there.”
Juanillo encourages them to call the cops and they walk off.
In an interview with San Francisco ABC station KGO-TV, Juanillo said the cops did arrive shortly after and they recognized each other.
“They did not even get out of the car,” said Juanillo.
Juanillo called the incident “polite racism.”
“What she did was everyday,” he told KGO. “It’s polite racism. It’s respectable racism. ‘Respectfully, sir, I don’t think you belong here at all.'”
He said if he was able to speak with the woman, he would ask her “why?”
“Why did she feel that what I was doing hurt her?” he said.
KGO reported that the woman in the video is Lisa Alexander, who is the owner of the skin care brand Laface, according to the subscription service Birchbox.
Following the release of the video, Birchbox said it officially cut ties with the brand.
In a statement to KGO, Alexander apologized for her actions and said that she “should have minded her 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,” said the statement. “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,” it continued.
Alexander said in the statement that she wants to have coffee with Juanillo and apologize in person. Juanillo has yet to respond publicly to her offer.
The episode marks the latest in a string of viral videos on social media showing encounters in which white people have called 911 to report people of color in seemingly everyday scenarios.
Last month, a cellphone video capturing a white dog owner in New York City’s Central Park calling 911 and claiming an African American birdwatcher was “threatening myself and my dog” went viral. The woman, Amy Cooper, was fired from her job and later apologized.
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