January 23 2019
An Oregon hotel said it had fired two employees for "mistreatment" of a black guest who was talking on his phone in the lobby when he was asked to leave.
Jermaine Massey accused the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Portland of racially profiling him, after a security guard called police to remove him from the lobby on 22 December. He was staying at the hotel.
The security guard told Massey that if he could not provide a room number, he would be asked to leave. The Washington state resident left with an officer, according to a police report.
Massey posted a video on social media that shows part of the interaction with the guard.
It was the latest high-profile incident in which black people have been removed from businesses. Last month, police in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland helped the owner of a frozen yogurt shop kick out a black man because employees said they felt uncomfortable.
In Philadelphia in April, police arrested two black men at a Starbucks coffee shop after a manager called police to say they refused to make a purchase or leave.
Police, other city officials and business owners in those incidents later apologized.
On Friday, the hotel apologized to Massey on Twitter, saying the employees involved had been placed on leave and an investigation would be carried out. A day later, it said it had "terminated the employment of the two men involved", whose actions "were inconsistent with our standards & values". The hotel did not identify the employees.
The hotel's general manager, Paul Peralta, said in a statement earlier this week the hotel reached out to Massey to try to reach a resolution. Massey's lawyers have said they intend to pursue legal action. The hotel should publicly answer, they said, why security approached and questioned Massey and explain how, as the guard claimed, Massey was a threat to security.
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