An African-American woman says she was harassed by a white man claiming to be a “health inspector” who asked her if she and her family had showered before getting into a Pasadena hotel’s pool, KABC-TV (Los Angeles) is reporting.
Carle Wheeler was with her family at the Pasadena Westin Hotel this week when, like any other hotel guest, she and her 5-year-old daughter decided they’d go for a swim. However, Wheeler, who is African-American, said in a Facebook post that she was approached by a white man who demanded to know if they had taken a shower first, because “people carry diseases.” The man allegedly claimed he was “with the Health Department” and he didn’t want the hotel to have to shut down the pool.
“At that point I called BS and I confronted him on what appeared to be blatant racism. I let him know that being black is not a disease and showering would not wash the BLACK off our skin.”
Wheeler says she pointed out to the “health inspector” that there were three white people in the jacuzzi whom he had apparently not interrogated about their showering habits. In fact, the other people in the hotel came to Wheeler’s defense and called the hotel manager.
According to Wheeler, the manager, whom she identified as Ofelia Dolliver, explained to the man that the question he asked was inappropriate. Eventually the hotel’s general manager, and according to Wheeler, didn’t give the family the results they wanted.
“In true fashion, as soon as he arrived he took one look at us and immediately let the white man leave and told us to step to the side with him.”
The man left before anyone in hotel management could confirm his identity. All the while, Wheeler kept her video camera rolling.
You can see the video of the encounter below, but be warned: this video contains strong language.
Wheeler says that, as of this writing, she has not heard from anyone in the hotel’s management if they’ve identified the supposed “health inspector.” No police report was filed.
“It’s sad that I had to explain to my beautiful little five year old brown skinned girl why in 2018 a white man would think it’s OK to ask a little girl and her mom if we showered our presumably dirty black skin before entering a swimming pool.”
In a statement, the hotel apologized for what happened to Ms. Wheeler and stated that they “strive to maintain an environment where our guests feel welcome and are treated with equal respect and attention from our team.”