Social media influencer and Indigenous activist Alicia Johnson has come out swinging at Kmart for 'racially profiling' her.
Over the weekend, the First Nations woman posted a video to TikTok detailing the incident at a Marrickville Metro Kmart located in the city’s inner west.
While scanning her items at the check-out, Johnson claims she noticed a service attendant carefully watching over her.
She said: “The service attendant was watching me very closely and then proceeded to check that I'd scanned a 30c bag, which I did.
“She then grabbed my receipt and read it in front of everybody. She had not checked the receipts of anyone else.”
Johnson added: “I then said, ‘I’m the only Bla(c)k person in this vicinity, and it’s embarrassing that I’m the only receipt that you checked.”
Johnson then expressed that ‘racial stereotyping’ must stop and labeled it ‘disgusting’. She then demanded a public apology from the department store.
The Indigenous PhD scholar who has nearly 50,000 followers on TikTok disclosed that after being confronted by the Kmart employee, a Māori lady comforted her.
She wrote in her caption: “A Māori lady then looked at me, she was hurt for me. She then insisted that the staff member check her receipt in solidarity and equality. Thank you sister for standing with me.”
A spokesperson for Kmart told news.com.au that they are 'aware of an incident in our Marrickville store on Friday and have been in conversation with the customer to chat through this further'.
“We take reports like this extremely seriously and (are) investigating internally and organising a time to meet with the customer,” the spokesperson added.
Johnson noted that while this isn’t the first time she’s been racially profiled, it was never this ‘invasive’ and ‘open’.
Following the post, Johnston shared another video of her speaking with consumer data advocate Kate Bower on how retail stores like Kmart use facial recognition to identify customers.
She wrote in her caption: “Retailers owe all of us a duty of care and responsibility to be transparent regarding matters impacting our privacy.
“This specific form of technology has been proven to be extremely problematic, yet has been rolled out within our nation without any independent assessment nor consultation.”
Bunnings and The Good Guys have also been accused by CHOICE, a not-for-profit consumer advocacy organisation, of using facial recognition in stores without the consent of their customers.
A CHOICE report stated that many customers criticised the technology, slamming it as ‘creepy’ and ‘dangerous’, according to SBS News.
The report read: “The results indicate that most people are in the dark. More than three in four respondents said they didn’t know retailers were using facial recognition.
“This lack of awareness doesn’t mean people aren’t concerned … and 78 per cent [of the respondents] expressed concern about the secure storage of faceprint data.
“Nearly two-thirds of respondents (65 per cent) are concerned about stores using the technology to create profiles of customers that could cause them harm.”
Featured Image Credit: TikTok/aliciaj1111.Alamy
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