CVS apologizes after police called over black customer's coupon
CVS apologized Sunday to a black customer who said a white manager called the police after deciding that a coupon she tried to use at a Chicago pharmacy was fraudulent.
"CVS is actively investigating what happened and we will take any corrective action that is warranted based on the outcome of our investigation," company spokesman Mike DeAngelis said in a statement. "The employees who were involved in the incident will not be working in the store pending the findings of our investigation."
DeAngelis added that CVS has "firm non-discrimination policies in place to help ensure that all customers are treated with respect and dignity. Profiling or any other type of discriminatory behavior is strictly prohibited."
The customer, Camilla Hudson, said in a Facebook post that she presented the coupon for a defective product to a pharmacy manager last week. The manager told her he'd never seen a similar coupon and believed it was a fraud.
"When I asked for his name and his title/role within the store, he became agitated and rude," she wrote. "When I pulled out my phone to document what happened and exactly what he'd said to me (AND how he'd said it!) he turned his back and walked away from me."
A second manager told her that if she didn't leave immediately, he'd call the police, she wrote. In a viral video that Hudson posted on Facebook, she can be heard confronting a manager, who appears to be describing Hudson to the authorities over the phone.
"Tell them that I will be here when they arrive," she said. "I have ID and I will share it."
When he describes her as African-American, Hudson interrupts.
"No, I'm not African-American — I'm black. Black isn't a bad word," she said.
The manager, who identifies himself in the video as Morry Matson, was a state delegate for Donald Trump in 2016, an aldermanic candidate on Chicago's North Side and president of the Illinois affiliate of the Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative group that advocates for LGBTQ rights, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, which viewed Matson's no-longer-active campaign website.
In an interview with the LGBTQ newspaper Windy City Times in April, Matson said the affiliate had recently been "reactivated" to remind Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner that "we still need to work on workplace discrimination. It's still a problem in Illinois. Adoption, health costs, health insurance, keeping the cost of pills down — that's important in the gay community."
Matson didn't respond to a message seeking comment on Sunday.
In her post, Hudson said that after three officers arrived, she left the store.
"Needless to say, this is far from over," she wrote. "Life in these United States. Aargh."
As with other recent incidents of alleged racial bias, Matson quickly earned a nickname on social media — #CouponCarl.