Chemist Warehouse accused of racial profiling after Indigenous woman accused of shoplifting

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A young Indigenous girl and her mother have spoken out after a distressing ordeal while shopping at Chemist Warehouse.

Alinta was shopping for makeup with her mum, popular rapper Chloe Quayle, before being stopped by a security guard as they went to leave the store.

The guard asked them to produce a receipt for their beauty haul, which they willingly did, but quickly realised a white customer had left the store without being asked the same.

“We complied… that was until a white shopper was able to leave the store without hassle.” Alinta explained.

“It was then my mum instantly pointed this out and asked the security guard if he was going to ask the other shoppers for a receipt as well.”

At some point, her mother started recording the incident as the guard threatened to call the police – and it was after that the young Alinta was accused of stealing from the store.

In what she calls an act of desperation to prove her innocence, a sobbing Alinta dropped her back and jacket to the floor to prove she hadn’t stolen anything.

‘The sad thing about this is that I truly believed that I had done something wrong. I believed that maybe I had a gap in my memory or stole something by accident,” she explained.

“I was just painted as a criminal. My life began to crumble.

“My dignity and self-esteem was stripped away from me in a second and for the rest of my night I cried and sobbed.

“I even contemplated taking my own life because how could I bear to live in a world that hated me.”

Alinta chose to publicly share her story to raise awareness of the ongoing discrimination faced by her family and other Indigenous people.

‘This has happened to my mother, my grandmother and probably the whole family tree since colonisation. Nothing has changed,” she added.

Ms Quayle, Alinta’s mother, has now called for the dismissal of the security guard involved in the incident.

“The ironic thing in it all is that my daughter also plays footy for a team that’s main sponsor is Chemist Warehouse,” she wrote on Facebook.

“Not only did they target an innocent Blak child and demonised her in the store, they targeted one of their players.”

She said she was “so sick and tired” of Indigenous children having to “beg and plead for their innocence”, saying her people suffered “severe racism”.

Chemist Warehouse said it was aware of the incident that had occurred at one of their NSW stores.

“Under no circumstances do we condone the ill treatment of our customers,” the company said in a statement.

“We want to assure you that the safety and wellbeing of our customers and staff are our top priority and we understand the distress this incident may have caused for all those involved.”

“We are discussing further action with the security contractor in question.”

In 2022, Australian media personality Shelley Ware spoke out against racial profiling after a similar incident while shopping for jewellery at Angus and Coote with her son.

The Marngrook Footy Show star and proud Aboriginal rights activist claimed staff made her feel uncomfortable when she asked if her son could try on a necklace.

She also claimed staff spoke amongst each other as if she and her son were absent, discussing whether or not the stores picked up their faces on camera.

Ware detailed the incident in a lengthy Twitter thread, asking if others had received similar treatment from behind the counter while shopping at the major jewellery chain.

Speaking to news.com.au, Ware said it was fortunate her post reached as many as it did and reinforced the need to inform others on what some Australians experience on a daily basis.

She said her 15-year-old son wanted to buy something significant with his first pay cheque, but instead was subjected to what she described as “agitating” conduct from staff.

Staff members allegedly held onto the necklace “with two hands firmly on either end for her to look at” and refused to let Ware and her son hold it as “it was heavy”.

Before her son was allowed to loosely try on the item, staff requested security, but at this point Ware had reached the end of her patience and told the staff member they’d be shopping elsewhere.

“After this behaviour, I told her we wouldn’t buy from here after the way she made us feel,” she said.

“It’s pretty standard for most of my life to be followed in shops, but this was next level. The most blatant I‘ve experienced in a long time.

“This is an ongoing problem. Aboriginal people should be allowed to shop in peace without being profiled like this.”