Forest Whitaker was left humiliated and angry on Friday after he was frisked by a staff member at a New York City delicatessen on suspicion of shoplifting.
Whitaker, Academy Award winner and star of The Crying Game and The Last King of Scotland, was on his way out of Milano Market deli on Manhattan’s Upper East Side when he was stopped by an employee and accused of taking an item from the shelf.
TMZ reports that an eye-witness said the deli employee proceeded to frisk the 51-year-old actor in full view of the shoppers as if he were a common criminal.
Inevitably, the search produced no evidence of stolen goods and Whitaker left the shop, reportedly upset and bewildered.
Whitaker’s representative toldTmz:
“This was an upsetting incident given the fact that Forest did nothing more than walk into the deli. What is most unfortunate about this situation is the inappropriate way store employees are treating patrons of their establishment.
“Frisking individuals without proof/evidence is a violation of rights. Forest did not call the authorities at the request of the worker who was in fear of losing his employment. Forest asked that, in the future, the store change their behavior and treat the public in a fair and just manner.”
CelebDirtyLaundry asks a fair question:
“What made this employee zero in on Forest in the first place? Is it simply because he didn’t fit the typical upscale visual mode of most of their customers? Forest is worth millions and cleans up really well, but in normal life he blends in pretty well. Was this a crappy example of profiling that led to a full frisking of the actor?”
As yet, management at the deli have yet to comment on the incident, Wenn notes.
Do you think Whitaker’s frisking is an example of racial profiling or just an unfortunate mistake by a over-zealous worker?