October 23 2019
Two employees accused of racially profiling a black guest in the lobby of a Hilton DoubleTree Hotel in Oregon are on leave Friday morning. The hotel apologized a second time to Jermaine Massey, who in widely shared Instagram videos claimed he was targeted for "calling his mother while black."
Massey was returning from a concert Saturday night when he said he went to a quiet corner of the hotel lobby to take a phone call from his mother when a security officer – now dubbed "Hotel Earl" by the internet – approached him and things got heated, reports CBS News correspondent DeMarco Morgan.
The 71-year-old security guard, Earl Wesley Meyers, had asked Massey for his room number. Massey said he didn't remember it and requested privacy for his phone call. Instead, Meyers called for the police to escort him off the property.
In a video posted to Instagram Massey said, "He even went so far as to say he's there to protect the safety of the guests. As if I weren't a guest and I was causing a disturbance and I was a safety threat."
According to Massey, white guests in the lobby were not similarly questioned. Instagram video shows Massey telling Meyers that he was a guest at the hotel. He produced his room key for a manager who said in the video, "He (Meyers) wouldn't have asked me to call 911 without any cause."
Responding officers warned Massey he could be arrested for trespassing if he stayed. According to the police report, the 34-year-old, who said he was "a former FBI agent ... became loud and started yelling that the hotel was racist."
"You know judging someone based off of the color of their skin – you never know how it feels until you've actually been there. I could have went to jail had I responded a different way," Massey said in a video.
In the past year police have been called on a group of black people barbecuing, a girl selling bottled water on the sidewalk and Bob Marley's granddaughter after she and her friends left their Airbnb.
Massey checked into a different hotel Saturday after he was kicked out without a refund. On Thursday, the DoubleTree announced it was reviewing its protocols and trainings and had launched an investigation. "We have a zero-tolerance stance on discrimination of any kind," it said in a statement.
"I plan to try to seek justice and make sure that that's not happening to anybody else," Massey said in a video.
Massey's attorney said in a statement his client was publicly humiliated and now wants the hotel to publicly answer to two questions: Why was he approached by security and interrogated? And why was he called a threat to the safety and security of guests?