Chiswick M&S staff accused of racially profiling Singaporean politician

Image above: Marks and Spencer on Chiswick High Road

Visiting politician said he was left “frightened and intimidated” by security staff

Chiswick’s Marks and Spencer staff have been accused of racially profiling a prominent Singaporean politician after staff wrongly accused him of shoplifting.

Kenneth Jeyaretnam, the Secretary General of the opposition Reform Party in Singapore, was visiting the UK with his wife Amanda. Kenneth travelled to Chiswick High Road to pick up provisions for Amanda on Saturday (24 September), who was suffering from a slipped disc.

Describing the incident on Twitter, Amanda Jayaretnam said her husband had been “humiliated in front of the whole store” and was left “frightened and intimidated” by security staff.

After completing his purchase, Kenneth says he was stopped by a security guard and made to go to a windowless office, despite being able to show a receipt for what he had just bought at the till. He paid with an American Express card and even used his M&S loyalty card. Mr Jeyaretnam claims the two guards physically escorted him into the room.

While staff eventually admitted they had made a mistake, the manager allegedly refused to hand over the names of the staff working on the tills so that Mr Jeyaretnam could write a report. He claimed he was prevented from recording the incident and staff member on the tills were laughing at him throughout the ordeal.

Image above: Kenneth Jeyaretnam

“I was treated like an animal”

Taking to social media to question Marks and Spencer, Amanda Jayaretnam said:

“Can you explain @marksandspencer why my husband @KenJeyaretnam is being detained in your store for suspected theft. He paid on American Express he has showed the receipt. The manager has refused to give him the cashier’s name or to allow him to record them. This is pure racism.”

After leaving the store, Mr Jayaretnam said:

“This is the worst incident that has happened to me in the UK even though I experienced a lot of racism when I worked here in the 1980s. I was treated like an animal. Not even an apology. Just physical intimidation, threats and humiliation.”

An M&S representative responded to Amanda’s Twitter thread, requesting the couple send over their contact details so they could be contacted by the company’s executive office. Responding to the incident, a spokesperson for M&S said:

“Everyone is welcome at M&S and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind in our stores. We have apologised to Mr Jeyaretnam and are speaking to him directly so we can investigate with the store what has happened.”

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