A DoubleTree Hotel in Portland recently came under fire in a lawsuit alleging it discriminated against an African American guest when it had him escorted from the property for loitering.
A DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland is at the center of a lawsuit alleging it discriminated against an African-American guest when it called the police on him for ‘loitering.’ According to the guest, Jermaine Massey, he was sitting in the hotel lobby around 11 p.m. last December talking to his mother on the phone. It was then that he was approached by hotel security and the following conversation ensued, according to the lawsuit,
“Portland police will be here in a minute,” a guard said to Massey.
“Why are they coming?” Massey asked and explained he was a guest at the hotel.
“Not anymore,” the guard responded.
The guard further informed Massey that he was loitering and that “his presence was a threat to other guests’ safety.” When the police arrived, they escorted “Massey to his room to gather his belongings, and then lead him off the property.”
Fortunately, Massey was able to record part of the December 22 incident and shared it on Instagram. When commenting on what happened and what the security guard told him, Massey wrote:
“He said that I was a safety threat to the other guests and that I was trespassing and that I was a disturbance because I took a personal phone call from my mom in a more remote area of the lobby.”
In the video, Massey can be seen showing the “manager and security guard a ticket containing his room number that he received after checking in,” but he was still escorted from the property.
As a result, Massey decided to take legal action and file a lawsuit against the hotel earlier this week. Additionally, his suit also names the “security guard and the guard’s on-duty manager, alleging that he was falsely arrested and racially discriminated against last year by the two men, both of whom have since been fired.” His suit is seeking $3 million for pain and suffering and notes that he also plans to sue for $7 million in punitive damages.
Massey is represented by Jason Kafoury, a Portland-based attorney. When commenting on his client’s ordeal and the lawsuit, he said, “We hope to find out what have they done to change anything in the last 10 months. And we’re also going to use this case to set an example so that other hotels and the Hilton don’t treat anybody else like this.”
Kafoury also noted that since Massey’s ordeal, the Portland chapter of the NAACP has tried working with DoubleTree and Hilton to resolve the discrimination issues. However, while DoubleTree has agreed to “adopt some of the organization’s suggestions, Hilton Hotels “completely rebuffed its attempts to discuss national policy with the company.” Kafoury added:
“Mr. Massey hopes to learn what policies of Hilton have led to these events, what Hilton has done in response to such events, and will ask the jury to punish Hilton as an example to other hotels who may be tempted to encourage or tolerate discrimination at their places of business.”