A California woman who racially profiled a Black filmmaker and his two children outside of their home has been fired by her employer days after the story went viral. The health provider company released a statement to the public distancing themselves from their former employee.
Lisa Smith, who went viral for asking an African-American man why he was in the gated community, was terminated from her job as executive director in the anesthesiology department of Change Healthcare.
In a statement emailed to Atlanta Black Star by Katherine Woktecki, the VP of marketing & external communications, the organization made clear its core values were the complete opposite of those portrayed by Smith in the video.
“We are aware of a video recently posted on social media involving one of our former employees,” the statement read. “At Change Healthcare, one of our core values is Including All. Consistent with our core values and policies, we value diversity, promote inclusion, and seek to maintain a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. We do not share specific information about any employee, current or former. However, this individual is no longer with Change Healthcare.”
The video referenced in the corporate statement was recorded on Sunday, July 10 by Joshua O. Miller, a movie producer, after he returned from playing Pokémon Go with his children, 13 and 5. As the family returned home from the park, Smith met him in front of his townhouse in a gated complex in the Victoria Park section of Los Angeles and asked him, “What are you, right now, sitting out here doing?”
Smith did not know that Miller lived at the home she was protecting.
Understanding the power of social media, he posted the video the same night. Within hours, followers started to share the video and it went viral.
That night, Miller and his brother Isaac were able to determine where the woman worked and tagged them online, detailing the altercation with his followers.
By the next day, Smith had changed all her social media, including Facebook and Twitter, after the video went viral and people started to identify her as the woman in the footage.
On Tuesday, Miller tweeted he spoke to Change Healthcare about Smith’s profiling and harassment.
“I just got off the phone with @Change_HC actually they hung up on us. They didn’t want the call recorded. Didn’t apologize,” he tweeted. “Just asked me what led up to this!!!! When all that led up to this the racism of Lisa Smith. They were never planning on doing anything. #racialprofiling”
His brother, who was also on the call, took to Twitter to share his takeaway from speaking with Change Health Care, writing he was “appalled.”
“I am appalled that this company is in the healthcare industry at all, let alone calling themselves Change Healthcare. That was the worst professional call I’ve ever heard. Felt like talking to a brick,” he posted.
On Thursday, July 14, the company released the same statement shared with Atlanta Black Star.
Isaac tweeted a thank you, with a retweet of Change Healthcare, “To all that assisted with holding @Change_HCand their former employee accountable, thank you! Thank you for standing for decency and what’s right and not accepting the “that’s the way it is” excuse on this one.”