Tuesday, June 5, 2012 3:34 PM
Arizona doc accepts Barnes & Noble’s apology after being bounced for being in kid’s section
The Arizona doctor who was thrown out of a Barnes & Noble bookstore because he was alone in the children’s section said he accepts the company’s apology and just wants “my life back.”
Dr. Omar Amin, 73, of Scottsdale, said he was shopping for books for his grandchildren at his neighborhood bookstore May 4 when he was bounced simply because he was not accompanied by a child. After initially defending its handling of the matter, the company issued a statement apologizing to Amin. Although Amin was still stinging from the incident, he told FoxNews.com he is closing the book on the matter.
“I’m losing my privacy,” Amin said, a day after the incident made national headlines. “I’ve been bombarded with calls. I just need my privacy and my life back.
“I have accepted the apology, and I’m not pursuing it,” he told FoxNews.com.
Amin said he wound up in the reading area of the children’s section after he received a call on his cellphone. He said the area appeared to be empty, and he went there to avoid disturbing other customers.
“This man approached me and asked if I was in the store by myself,” Amin explained. “He said ‘You cannot stay. This is not an area where men are allowed to be by themselves.’
“I did not break any rules,” he said, adding that he was “firmly escorted out” of the store. “If that is Barnes & Noble’s policy, they should put up a sign saying men are not allowed beyond this point unless they are with children.”
Amin, who emigrated from Egypt 45 years ago and is a U.S. citizen, said he was told a female customer had complained about his presence in the children’s section, and said the employee who threw him out cited reports of alleged child molestation in other bookstores. Amin told FoxNews.com he believes his civil rights were violated.
The Arizona Republic identified the Barnes & Noble employee as Todd Voris.
In a statement released to FoxNews.com on Tuesday, Barnes & Noble vice president Mark Bottini said, “We want to apologize to Dr. Amin for a situation in which Dr. Amin was asked to leave the children’s section of our Scottsdale, Ariz., store.”
“We should not have done so,” Bottini said. “It is not our policy to ask customers to leave any section of our stores without justification. We value Dr. Amin as a customer and look forward to welcoming him in any of our stores.”
Bottini’s apology came after the company released a statement last week, saying it had “acted appropriately” in removing Amin from the store, according to the Arizona Republic.
The exact details of the woman’s complaint are not known, but reports of alleged child molestation over the past year in libraries in the state may have prompted her concern. A 31-year-old registered sex offender, for instance, was arrested in February for allegedly preying on young girls at a library in nearby Phoenix. Officer David Pubins of the Scottsdale Police Department told FoxNews.com he did not know of any similar recent incidents in Scottsdale.
“People should not always bury their instincts,” Dr. Keith Ablow, a Fox News contributor, said of the controversy.
“Like it or not, most child abductors and sexual predators are male. While many people object to profiling anyone, a man who frequents the children’s section of a bookstore alone is worth a second look,” he said, though he noted, “I’m not aware this man was a frequent customer.”