black lives matter

San Francisco Man Describes Being Confronted By Couple Over Black Lives Matter Message at Home

James Juanillo said he thinks he was approached because he is a person of color suspected of tagging on someone else's property

NBC Bay Area

Video that has exploded and gone viral online shows an exchange between a San Francisco resident and a woman who appears to take issue with him writing "Black Lives Matter" on a retaining wall at his home.

James Juanillo recorded the video earlier this week and posted it to Twitter on Thursday night. It has since been viewed more than 10 million times.

Juanillo in an interview with NBC Bay Area on Saturday said he has lived at the Pacific Heights home since 2002 and was inspired to make sure the Black Lives Matter message was also projected in his own neighborhood, one of the city's priciest.

"It's important that this not just be in the Castro, the SOMA," Juanillo said of the Black Lives Matter statement. "That it be in the Marina, and Laurel Heights, Presidio Heights, Pacific Heights where people who need to be woke can read it, and see that this is OK to have a statement like this, in a neighborhood like this."

On Tuesday, Juanillo began to stencil the Black Lives Matter message with chalk when he was approached by who he references as "Karen" inquiring if he is the property owner.

"Why are you asking?" Juanillo, who is Filipino, says to her in the video.

The woman, who identifies herself as Lisa and accompanied with a man who identifies himself as Robert, then tells Juanillo it's private property and that he is defacing it. She later goes on in the video and claims to know the owner.

Juanillo, who dares the woman in the video to call police, told NBC Bay Area that he felt confident doing so because he knows so many officers in the neighborhood due to having lived there for nearly two decades.

"I don't recommend this for any other person of color, other protester," he said. "Do not dare your Karens to call the cops."

Juanillo said he thinks he was approached because he is a person of color suspected of tagging on someone else's property.

"Makes me feel like we all need to fight," Juanillo said. "When you see racism...speak your truth. Don't let it go, it's time."

John Newmeyer co-owns the house where Juanillo and his husband live and said he does not know Lisa and Robert.

"This is the kind of assumption that's a subtle racism," Newmeyer said of the interaction. "I mean, it's not that vicious but still shows us a lot about how far we have to go. Don't assume just because someone is a person of color he doesn't belong."

The woman in the viral video has been identified as Lisa Alexander, the CEO of a skincare company called LaFace.

At least one company, Birchbox, which had been associated with Alexander's brand, has already denounced her actions.

"We have not worked with LaFace for several years, and as a result of the CEO's actions today, have officially cut ties with them," Birchbox said in a statement.

Alexander has not responded to several requests for comment from NBC Bay Area.

San Francisco police, asked for confirmation that the couple called police on Juanillo, said they were looking into it.

Juanillo said that overall his neighborhood is in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

"What the video on Twitter doesn't show is the 95% of residents and neighbors who while I was putting this up gave me a fist, or made eye contact and smile, or just flat out said thank you," he said.

He also said he's open to an apology.

"If she just comes to my door we can put this away," he said. "We can have a kumbaya moment."

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