The investment bank Raymond James has fired a San Francisco employee after he was identified in a viral video that showed a white couple challenged a man writing “Black Lives Matter” in washable chalk on his own property.
In the footage which so far has been viewed nearly 17 million times on Twitter, the pair took issue with a resident, James Juanillo — who filmed the conversation — as so-called "Karen" questioned whether he actually lived there, and accused him of defacing the pavement.
A white couple call the police on me, a person of color, for stencilling a #BLM chalk message on my own front retai… https://t.co/LHXGPdNtcl
The woman, who was later identified as skin-care CEO Lisa Alexander, eventually called the police on Juanillo— they took no action against him and recognised him as a local resident.
The bank didn’t name the man who appeared with Alexander, but said in a statement on Monday: “After an investigation into the circumstances of a video alleging racism by one of our associates, we have concluded that the actions of he and his partner were inconsistent with our values, and the associate is no longer employed with Raymond James.”
The man posted the video on Twitter and Facebook last week, saying that the incident had happened over the weekend in Pacific Heights — a wealthy neighbourhood in San Francisco.
Speaking to local media, Juanillo described what Alexander did as an everyday variety of racism. “It’s polite racism, it’s respectable racism – ‘respectfully sir, I don’t think you belong here at all.’”
Alexander apologised for questioning whether Juanillo lived on the property, and saying that she in fact knew the person who actually does live there. (The owner of the building who Juanillo rents from, has since said he has never met her.)
“I want to apologise directly to Mr Juanillo,” Alexander said in a statement. “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 couple both seem to now be having career trouble, as the skin-care distributor Birchbox announced it had cut ties with her brand, and wouldn’t work with it again in the future.