A hotel in Portland, Oregon, announced Saturday it fired two employees over mistreating a black guest, whom they asked to leave last week before calling the police.
Jermaine Massey, 34, said he was talking to his mother on his phone in lobby of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel last Saturday when a security guard approached him to ask if he was a guest, and what his room number was.
Massey said that even though he showed the guard his hotel key, the guard told him to leave and a manager called the police and accused Massey of loitering.
In an Instagram post, Massey said he believed he was targeted by the hotel staff due to his race.
“It is never ok to discriminate against guests for the color of their skin and to prejudge them based on your own bias against that race,” Massey wrote.
The hotel included an apology to Massey in its tweet on Saturday.
“DoubleTree by Hilton has zero tolerance for racism,” the hotel tweeted, adding that it had “terminated 2 employees involved in the mistreatment of Mr. Massey and is working with Diversity & Inclusion experts. Hilton deeply apologizes to Mr. Massey.”
Massey spoke out about the incident on CNN on Friday, saying he felt hurt and humiliated by the situation.
“I’m a person, at the end of the day, just like everyone else. And I deserve respect and fair treatment, and I did not receive that on Saturday,” Massey said. “I think that there’s a lot of perceptions about black males, in particular. That we’re threats, and we’re harmful, and we’re just fearful individuals. And that bias impacts these situations and it’s harmful to us as a people.”
The police call at the DoubleTree is just the latest in a series of instances where white people have called the police on black people for seemingly innocuous behavior, prompting viral outrage and raising concerns of racial bias.
In October, a white woman in Brooklyn called the police on a black child she wrongly accused of sexual assault, later admitting she had been mistaken. In April, two young black men were forcibly removed from a Starbucks in Philadelphia by police as they sat in the café waiting for a business meeting.
In May, a graduate student at Yale University was questioned by police after a fellow student reported her for sleeping in the common area of their dormitory. In June, one black firefighter in uniform was reported to police as he conducted a city-mandated inspection on homes in a neighborhood in Oakland, California.