Avalon Mall apologizes after Inuk man says he was wrongly kicked out, management to investigate
Angus Andersen says he'd just bought a cup of coffee when he was asked to leave
Angus Andersen wants answers as to why he was kicked out of the Avalon Mall on Sunday — and he hopes the answers aren't racially motivated.
Originally from Nain, Andersen said he was at the mall to meet up with friends who are forming a society of Inuit people living in St. John's.
While waiting, he was drinking a coffee and using his laptop when he says a security guard approached him.
"Just out of the blue [he] said, 'you have to leave because you are loitering.' I was really shocked. In my hand was a fresh Tim Hortons cup of coffee. I was just blown away by it."
He showed the man receipts from things he had purchased at the mall, but said the security guard wouldn't change his stance.
"He gave me a 30-minute warning to leave. He also said if they can't kick me out, they'll call the police to have me leave the mall," Andersen said.
Andersen said he began typing on his laptop, telling the guard he would send a message out to his followers on social media about what was happening.
He sent out a tweet, which quickly picked up 38 retweets and more than a dozen replies. He left the mall just shy of the 30-minute mark.
Being KICKED OUT of Avalon MALL "Loitering". I buys coffee at Tims everyday, several times. Security warned me that if I'm not gone in half an hour he will escort me out, and even may call Police to get me out. I asked his name and he refused to tell me. LOITERING? <a href="https://t.co/PTRHshfecW">pic.twitter.com/PTRHshfecW</a>—@AndersenAngus
CBC News requested comment from mall management on the incident Andersen described.
"We take this situation very seriously, and agree with Mr. Andersen that it must be addressed," said a spokesperson for Crombie REIT, the company that owns the Avalon Mall. "We will be reaching out to work with him to determine what happened, why, and what our next steps should be.
"Regardless of the outcome of our investigation, we understand that Mr. Andersen felt targeted and insulted, and we are truly sorry for this."
'Apology will not be enough'
Andersen's tweet came to the attention of mall management on Monday morning, who got in touch with him and arranged for a meeting.
Andersen said the assistant manager and marketing manager were "very understanding" and assured him they would look into it.
I was dumbfounded.- Angus Andersen
He asked to see their loitering policy, to see which part of it he was accused of violating, but says they denied his request.
"An apology will not be enough," Andersen told CBC News afterwards. He hopes mall management will review the policy and make changes.
Enjoying a cuppa Tims Medium Double Double in my usual spot in the Avalon Mall. Feels uncomfortable now from what had happened, but I came back again anyways. Not backing down on what happened, and taking a stand for fellow Inuit, Innu, Metis and other First Peoples. <a href="https://t.co/yhkumKMETg">pic.twitter.com/yhkumKMETg</a>—@AndersenAngus
If it's determined he did not break any rules, Andersen believes the only other reason for his ejection would be his ethnicity.
"I was dumbfounded. I was shocked to have it happen to me in St. John's," he said. "Especially where there's big talk of reconciliation with the First People, aboriginals of Canada."
While some people have suggested he take legal action, Andersen said he wants to meet with management again to discuss things further. He expects to have a second meeting later this week.
The mall spokesperson told CBC News the incident does not reflect the values of Crombie REIT, or who they are as a company.
With files from Mark Quinn