Aboriginal mother claims she was followed around a Kmart store by ‘racially profiling’ staff and her bags searched as she shopped with her family: ‘Fancy being called a thief on stolen land’
- Rapper Barkaa said staff watched and followed her family through the store
- The mother-of-three alleged staff were ‘snickering things under their breath’
- Kmart staff allegedly stopped the indigenous musician from leaving the store
An indigenous musician claims she was racially profiled and accused of stealing while shopping with her children at Kmart.
Australian rapper Barkaa, real name Chloe Quaylee, was shopping at her local Kmart store in the western Sydney suburb of Merrylands on Wednesday night.
She claimed she and her family were watched and followed by three staff and stopped from leaving the store until they checked her bags.
Indigenous rapper Barkaa was shopping at her local Kmart when three staff members followed her around the store and would not let her leave until they checked every item in her bag.
‘I walked into Kmart with my family and was spotted by one of the women who worked there, who continued starring at us,’ Barkaa wrote in an Instagram post.
‘She then grabs two young men (one that was in uniform and one that wasn’t) and all three followed me through the toy section with my young kids, snickering things under their breathe and laughing.’
Barkaa confronted the woman asking whether ‘she was ok’, the woman replied: ‘yes, just looking at this’ – which she then told the woman: ‘I know you are following me, can you please stop, it’s rude.’
The mother-of-three called her children to follow her and leave the store when two young men allegedly followed them through the aisles.
‘As we were leaving the two young men followed us so I decided to start video recording as it was distressing and humiliating for me,’ Barkaa wrote.
‘Once we got to the check out and checked all of our items through and proceeded to walk out, we were then stopped by a young woman who said “I have to check your bag”.’
The Malyangapa and Barkindji woman and rapper (pictured) said Kmart staff racially profiled her and her family while they shopped
Barkaa claimed three Kmart workers pulled out all the items she bought out of her bags and insisted they ‘had to because it was their job’ – while other customers left with their bags unchecked.
‘I said to them, ‘I have no need to steal, I’m in here with my kids, I have more than enough to pay for these items,’ Barkaa told the Kmart staff.
The artist felt ‘humiliated and ashamed’ but believed she had to speak out against racism and discrimination and had the platform to do so – sharing the experience with her 59,700 followers.
‘I have the platform to do so and I wish this wasn’t my job, but so many of us are still being discriminated against and racially profiled, followed around in stores and targeted just for being who we are,’ she wrote.
‘Tonight I felt humiliated and ashamed, I had people looking at me and my young kids like we had done something wrong.
‘I felt like crying when I got out of the shop but instead I had to walk off and explain to my kids what just happened and comfort my eldest daughter.
‘I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.’
The budget retailer, which is a subsidiary of Wesfarmers, said it was aware of Barkaa’s experience and was investigating the matter further.
‘We are aware of Barkaa’s experience in our store and we are investigating internally and taking it extremely seriously,’ Kmart told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We have been in contact with Barkaa and are speaking with her to understand more about her experience.
‘We want all our customers to have a great experience every time they are in one of our stores and we understand we have not delivered on this experience this time around.’
Kmart said they are aware of Barkaa’s experience at the Merryland’s store in western Sydney (pictured) and are investigating the incident
In two Instagram story posts on Friday night, one of which was deleted, Barkaa labelled users leaving negative comments as ‘whinging racists’.
‘It’s 2022, I don’t need racists for permission to be a Blak [sic] woman in this country with a voice,’ she wrote.
‘What happened was unacceptable… I’m not backing down and I have every right to be upset… it was traumatic for myself and my babies.’
‘Fancy being called a thief on stolen land,’ she wrote and then quickly deleted.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Barkaa for further comment.
Barkaa replied to negative comments from ‘whinging racists’ on her Instagram story on Friday night (pictured)