BY Stephen Nartey, 5:30pm January 04, 2024,

‘It’s okay they won’t arrest you’ – ESPN journo says he was racially profiled when he asked for restroom

Marc J Spears/photo credit: ESPN Press room

Prominent sports journalist Marc J Spears has compelled a Bay Side home store to issue an apology after claiming that he and a group of black shoppers experienced racial profiling by security. Spears alleged that he, along with his friends, felt discriminated against during their visit to Anthem Interiors in Healdsburg, California.

He said they were racially profiled at the enclosure while he was directed to the police station when requesting restroom access, accompanied by the assurance that he wouldn’t be arrested, as reported by Daily Mail.

“I walked in, and I could just feel it,” the ESPN writer shared on Instagram. “Anybody that’s been racially profiled knows it when it’s happening.”

Spears described the experience as unsettling because he and his friends felt scrutinized and frowned upon by store clerks. According to him, they felt they were being perceived as potential thieves.

Spears said when he needed to use the restroom, he couldn’t ignore the urge and was directed to the police station with an unusual assurance that he wouldn’t be arrested.

“I tried to give the lady that worked there the benefit of the doubt by asking if she knew where the nearest bathroom was,” he said.

“She suggested that I go to the Healdsburg Police Department across the street to use their facilities. Confused I asked her why would I go to the bathroom at a police station?”

“Her response was that it will be OK they won’t arrest you.”

The co-host of Hulu’s “The Conversations Project,” with half a million followers on social media, shared his unsettling encounter at Anthem Interiors online. The store owner, Janelle Loevner, quickly responded, indicating that all patrons are directed to the police station across the street to use the bathroom, providing insight into the store’s policy in a comment on Instagram.

“This was not directed to you personally and I have heard our associates joke to our customers about sending people there no matter the person’s skin color.

“I do see how it could have been misinterpreted, but I promise you that was not the intention.”

Spears received support and admiration from his followers who expressed sympathy for his restrained response to the discriminatory experience.

“I’m heated that you had to experience something like this, something that happens far too frequently,” wrote Sean Cunningham.

“Seriously!? Go to the bathroom at a police station, they won’t arrest you?” added Kelly E Carter.

Spears, troubled by the discriminatory encounter at Anthem Interiors, shared that the incident lingered in his thoughts as he drove back to his hotel.

Loevner expressed deep regret for Spears’ experience and told the SF Chronicle that she had communicated the need for changes in the way staff address customers seeking the restroom.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 4, 2024


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