Victoria Milne says her brother James, 21, was refused entry to Mount Ommaney JB Hi-Fi on Monday because a security guard and the manager mistook him for another man with the genetic disorder who had been banned from the premises.
Milne vented her family’s disgust in a Facebook post, which was shared more than 55,000 times and had hundreds pledging to boycott the retailer.
JB Hi-Fi CEO, Richard Murray, sent a personal letter of apology to Mr Milne which was initially rejected by Milne.
However later she said she had chatted briefly with Murray, who told her the manager in question was deeply distressed.
“I was yet to see his (the CEO’s) personal letter of apology to James so he emailed it through,” Milne wrote on Facebook.
“It included the following: ‘I am proud of the staff at our Mt Ommaney store, however, there is no doubt the events of yesterday are disappointing.’
Earlier, Ms Milne told AAP her father had tried to point out that the photo of the banned person was not her brother, only to be informed by the manager: “They look the same”.
“The boy also had Down Syndrome but was clearly not James,” she said.
“He was white with lighter hair, while James is half-Fijian with olive skin … they clearly weren’t the same person. But they were refused entry.”
Milne said the incident caused her family great distress, but she’d been overwhelmed by public support.
Repeated requests by her family and the Down Syndrome Association of Queensland for an apology from the manager involved have been refused, she said.
Her father has sought legal advice about how to get an apology, but Ms Milne also wants the manager sacked.
Ipswich councillor, Paul Tully, even started an online petition calling for JB Hi-Fi to address the matter, describing it as “disgusting” and “un-Australian”.
JB Hi-Fi posted an apology on Facebook and three hours later posted a more comprehensive response.
Via Facebook, Murray said: “We would like to apologise unreservedly to James. We should have done better yesterday. We are going to make sure that we learn from this and do better in the future. I have sent a personal letter of apology to James and we are continuing to endeavour to contact the family to apologise directly.”