Woman from racist video in Coquitlam park comes forward
VANCOUVER -- A woman caught on camera making racist remarks to a pair of women of colour in Coquitlam’s Minnekhada Regional Park has come forward to apologize and offer her version of what happened on Sunday evening.
“They said some things that triggered me and it made me angry and I said some things that I shouldn’t have,” said Andrea Tylczak, who is white.
The video starts in the middle of a dispute between Tylczak and two other women over proper etiquette in the park when it comes to picking berries.
The two women had broken branches off a bush so they could snack on the berries while walking.
Tylczak saw them with the branches and told them they should have just picked the berries and left the branches intact.
“Eat all the berries you want, just don’t take the bush with you,” she says shortly after the video begins.
Things escalated quickly from there with Elika Gholizadeh and her friend asking the woman to mind her own business.
“You know that is the f--king rudest thing you’ve said to me! Go back where you came from if you want to use language like that,” Tylczak says in the video.
In an interview with CTV News, Tylczak agreed her comment was racist but she insists it’s not what she intended to say and that in the heat of the moment her words came out wrong.
She says she meant to tell the women to go home.
“It was not about any underlying bias,” Tylczak said. “The whole thing was a bad mistake and I deeply, deeply regret it. That’s what I would like to say to them, and I would like to say to anyone who saw the video, that I deeply regret it. It does not reflect my beliefs in any way.”
All three women in the two-minute video are Canadian but, in an ironic twist, Tylczak is the only immigrant involved in the situation.
She is originally from the Seattle area and moved to Vancouver about 25 years ago.
Gholizadeh says she and her friend, who are both of Persian descent, decided to share the video to demonstrate that Canada is not immune from acts of racism.
“People shouldn’t be able to just treat people that way and talk to people that way for something like the colour of their skin,” she said.
For her part, Tylczak says she immediately regretted saying what she did so she waited in the parking lot, hoping to apologize to the other two women, but she did not see them again.