Two sisters say security guards at a mall in Pennsylvania ejected them from the building because they refused to remove hats and shirts with a profane anti-cancer message just days after the death of their mother.
Zakia Clark, 29, and Tasha Clark, 27, told the Philadelphia Daily News that before their mother, Jackie Underwood, died of breast cancer they created the “Fuck Cancer” garments, replacing the “c” in “Fuck” with a breast-cancer-awareness ribbon.
“He said, ‘Since you don’t want to take your hat off, you can leave my mall,'” Zakia recalled one security guard saying. “He stood there while we ate and threatened to call the cops.”
Zakia said that she and her sister were quickly surrounded by seven security guards who seemingly came out of nowhere.
“I was very embarrassed,” she explained to the paper. “My daughter was so scared she was crying.”
Zakia and Tasha’s sister, 32-year-old Makia Underwood, met up with them outside the mall.
“I just wanted to tell [the guards] the whole story,” Makia said. “I wanted to tell them a monster came into our house, got into my mother and we had to watch that until the day it took her, so don’t tell me it’s offensive to say, ‘Fuck Cancer.'”
A spokesperson for Simon Property Group, which owns King of Prussia Mall, called the sisters to apologize after the Philadelphia Daily News began investigating the story.
“Certainly this could have been handled in a much more empathic and sensitive manner,” Morris agreed. “We’re very sorry about her loss and wanted to apologize for the way her party was treated.”
“I do think this is an entirely different situation than a 16-year-old kid with a swear word on his T-shirt cruising the mall,” he added. “We need to be empathic, sympathetic, and listen and make sure that we’re approaching each situation as it comes up.”
Jackie Underwood had a mastectomy in 2004 after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She lived for seven years without radiation and chemotherapy until the cancer caught up with her. She died on May 14 of this year.
Her daughter’s have planned a protest outside King of Prussia Mall near Nordstrom on Thursday.
[Photo: Woman holding ‘Fuck Cancer’ shirt (Flickr/ Chris Luckhardt)]