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Man loses job after he and wife harassed Filipino for writing ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign

By: Niña V. Guno - Inquirer.net | June 18,2020 - 10:41 AM

James Juanillo poses with chalk-written sign outside of his home in San Francisco, Sunday, June 14, 2020. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

A husband and wife who confronted a Filipino for making a “Black Lives Matter” sign are facing the consequences in their lines of work.

Robert Larkins was fired from financial firm Raymond James after a video on June 12 went viral on Twitter wherein he and his wife, Lisa Alexander, were seen harassing Filipino James Juanillo.

Raymond James said in a statement Monday, June 15, that it investigated the video and that “the associate is no longer employed with Raymond James.”

“Raymond James has zero tolerance for racism or discrimination of any kind,” it said. “An inclusive workplace is fundamental to our culture, one in which people are free to bring their whole selves to their careers, and we expect our associates to conduct themselves appropriately inside and outside of the workplace.”

Meanwhile, Alexander, the CEO of skincare line LaFace, lost distributor Birchbox. The makeup company said on Sunday, June 14: “There is absolutely no space at Birchbox for racism and we condemn Lisa Alexander’s actions.”

Juanillo was approached by the couple in front of his home in San Francisco while he was stenciling “Black Lives Matter” in chalk. They questioned if he lived on the property, with Alexander claiming that she knew the owner of the house.

She called the police, who Juanillo said “recognized me immediately as a resident of the house and left without getting out of their patrol car,” as per ABC7 News on Sunday.

Juanillo has been renting the property for nearly 18 years, he told KPIX 5 on Monday. Homeowners John Newmeyer and Brad Gilbertson told news outlets that they did not know the couple, despite Alexander’s claim.

“What she did is polite racism. It’s respectable racism,” Juanillo said. “‘Respectfully, sir I don’t think you belong here.’”

The couple issued an apology through ABC7 News, with Alexander saying, “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 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,” Larkins said. “I have a lot to learn about how racism impacts people in their lives, daily, I have hurt my neighbor.”

“I will be willing to talk to him,” Juanillo said. “If he expressed that to me in person, I would forgive both of them.” Niña V. Guno /ra

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