MARSHFIELD, Mass. — A Boston couple claims they were racially discriminated by a South Shore real estate agent during an open house event.
“I didn’t know what to think, I’ve never had anyone treat me like this before,” Robyn Thompson said.
Thompson told Boston 25 News about an incident that took place during a Marshfield open house last Friday.
Thompson recently learned that a house that once belonged to her family is back on the market. On Friday, Thompson, her husband Duong An, and their kids ages 6 and 3, stopped by the house on their way to a camping trip to see if she could get the house back into the family.
But Thompson and her husband say real estate agent Kristen Dewey treated them poorly and things quickly went from bad to worse.
“From the first time we walked in, she was escalating things,” Duong An said.
The couple says things reached a breaking point when the agent who followed them through the house criticized them for being critical of a light fixture.
“You go into a store, they think you are about to steal something? I feel a little bit like that, she kept on following,” Duong An said.
Eventually, the couple said Dewey asked them to leave and she threatened to call the police. Dewey tells Boston 25 News, however, that it was the family’s idea to call the police.
Thompson said she thinks that threat was racially motivated.
“I didn’t [think that] until she threatened to call the police,” Thompson said. “I couldn’t see her doing that to anybody else, that was not [my] complexion.”
Kristen Dewey issued a statement through her publicist that said in part:
“I’m disheartened by any accusation that I would discriminate, [...] in my 15+ years of real estate experience, I’ve never had a single complaint – ever. Any implication of me being a racist is not true.”
In the Statement, Dewey denies she threatened to call the police and said it was the family who suggested it, but she did not.
She said that, on the day of the open house, she was trying to keep things moving because of COVID-19 protocols.
While Dewey admits she suggested she might call police, she did not. She said it was the family who suggested it. In fact, she says she would like to sit down with the couple and talk to them in person to apologize.
Thompson and her family feel so strongly about what happened, they were considering filing a civil rights violation complaint with the State Attorney General.
The MA Attorney General’s office confirmed it received the complaint and is reviewing.
The Office said housing complaints usually are referred to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
If MCAD finds in favor of Robyn Thompson, under state law, a judgement could include damages, litigation cost, attorneys’ fees and potential civil penalties against the defendant, not to exceed $5,000.
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