By Alex Dobuzinskis
(Reuters) – A Hilton hotel in Portland, Oregon fired a security guard and a manager after a black guest captured them on video calling the police to report him for trespassing after he had been speaking to his mother by phone in the lobby, the hotel said on Saturday.
Police responded to the call and escorted Jermaine Massey out of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, where he was staying, on Dec. 22, a law firm representing Massey said in a statement. His attorneys said Massey was doing nothing more than “calling his mother while black.”
Massey videotaped his interactions with the security guard and manager and posted it to Instagram where it was widely viewed. He has called his treatment by the hotel an incident of racial profiling.
“Following an internal review, we have terminated the employment of the security guard and manager involved in this incident,” the hotel said in a statement on Saturday. “Our hotel is a place of hospitality, and their actions were inconsistent with our standards and values.”
The identities of the security guard and manager were not released and they could not be reached for comment.
In the video shared on social media, the security guard can be heard telling Massey that police would be arriving to escort him away. Massey protests that he is staying at the hotel.
“Not anymore,” the guard responds.
On Friday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was deeply troubled to hear about what Massey went through.
“No one should be treated this way, and I hope this serves as a catalyst for necessary changes that address the systemic nature of discrimination of all forms,” Wheeler said on Twitter.
Hilton said in a statement it has no tolerance for racism and was working with the independently owned and operated hotel in Portland to reinforce training on diversity.
Massey’s attorney, Greg Kafoury, said Massey plans to sue the Hilton chain over his eviction from the hotel.
In April in Philadelphia, two black men were arrested at a Starbucks after a manager called police to complain that they had not made a purchase and refused to leave.
Online video of their arrests sparked protests and accusations of racial profiling. Starbucks Corp chief executive Kevin Johnson called that incident “reprehensible.”
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by David Gregorio)