SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Lisa Alexander, the CEO of a San Francisco-based skin care company, issued an apology Sunday for calling the police on a man who was creating a Black Lives Matter sign in chalk in front of his Pacific Heights home.
A video of Tuesday’s confrontation between Alexander and James Juanillo had been watched and shared by millions on social media, triggering a wave of outrage. Alexander’s company, LaFace Skincare, had taken its website offline.
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After several attempts to obtain a comment from her, Alexander sent KPIX 5 a statement on 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 racial inequalities.”
“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 on 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, who is Filipino, 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 has lived on Gough Street in the San Francisco’s posh Pacific Heights neighborhood 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,” says Juanillo.
“We will do so,” says the couple.
Juanillo said he knows many of the police officers in the neighborhood and that they didn’t even get out of their car when checking out the call shortly after the video was taken.
He said he was 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,” said Juanillo.
Birchbox, a makeup distribution service posted a statement on its Instagram account saying it has “officially cut ties with LaFace, and condemns the actions of Lisa Alexander.”