A viral video showing hotel employees force a black man to give up his room angered many across the nation this past week, according to the Huffington Post. Jermaine Massey was talking on his cellphone in the lobby of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Portland, Oregon, when he was approached by two hotel employees who asked him to leave.
Massey had been in the area to see a concert featuring rapper Travis Scott and had booked a room at the hotel in advance. When he received a phone call from his mother who was checking in on him, he went to a remote area of the lobby to take the call in private. The viral video capturing the incident shows a security guard named Earl approaching Massey and telling him he is no longer welcome at the DoubleTree.
“I needed some privacy, I had a family emergency going on and this gentleman decided to come over here and harass me and ask me where I was staying,” Massey later told the hotel manager. Even after telling hotel employees that he was indeed a guest and not trespassing on the property, he was issued no apology. Instead the manager instructed him to go to his room and gather his belongings. Upon doing so, Massey was promptly asked to leave.
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Tonight I was racially profiled and discriminated against for taking a phone call in the lobby of my hotel room at the @doubletreepdx @doubletree. The security guard “Earl” decided that he would call the police on me, the exact reason is still unclear to me. He said that I was a safety threat to the other guests and that I was trespassing and said that I was a disturbance because I took a personal phone call from my mom in a more remote area of the lobby. The manager who actually called the cops, “Luis” actually asked me AFTER he called the cops, what happened? They already had in their minds that they didn’t want me there so I waited for the cops to show up and when they did, I explained my side of the story and they didn’t want to hear it. They asked me if I had personal items in my room (which of course I did) and asked me to go retrieve them. They told me that since the hotel requested me to leave, that if I didn’t I would be considered a trespasser and would be thrown in jail. I complied and cooperated and was not issued a refund for my room. I packed my stuff and went to another hotel. I cannot believe the level of professionalism that this hotel property had with me tonight. 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. Earl is a disgrace, calls himself a man but calls the Portland Police Dept on a man who was minding his own business in the lobby of his hotel. I had my hotel key in my hand the entire conversation, he knew I was a guest. He wanted to prove a point and did it in the worst way. Not really shocked that this happened but just extremely disappointed. I will be seeking justice. Believe that. @doubletree @doubletreepdx @hiltonhonors #hilton #hiltonhotels #racism #racisminamerica #racismisreal @shaunking
Following the incident, Massey was in disbelief and turned to Instagram to share his anger and frustration. He also posted the video he took of the disturbing incident, many social media users agreeing it was brought on my racism.
“Tonight I was racially profiled and discriminated against for taking a phone call in the lobby of my hotel room at the @doubletreepdx @doubletree,” Massey wrote. “They already had in their minds that they didn’t want me there so I waited for the cops to show up and when they did, I explained my side of the story and they didn’t want to hear it.”
The hotel later apologized for Massey’s upsetting experience saying that they will use diversity training to ensure such an incident never occurs again. The hotel also terminated the employment of the two employees involved.
“Their actions were inconsistent with our standards & values,” the hotel tweeted. “We reiterate our sincere apology for what he endured & will work with diversity experts to ensure this never happens again.”
Massey knows that his unfortunate experience is one that many black Americans have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. He hopes that by sharing his story it will ignite a conversation about tolerance.