By: Carla Herreria, Huffington Post
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Portland, Oregon, fired two employees days after they were accused of racially profiling a black hotel guest who was taking a call on his cellphone in the lobby. In a statement posted to Twitter on Saturday, the hotel issued another apology and announced that it fired the two men “involved in the mistreatment” of Jermaine Massey, who captured parts of last week’s confrontation on camera. The decision to fire the employees came after the hotel announced it would investigate the discrimination claims. “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.” Jacob Benjamin, the hotel’s general manager, did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for the employees’ full names. Last weekend, Massey posted a series of videos showing DoubleTree staff members and a police officer asking him to leave the hotel, despite his having booked a room. Massey was eventually forced to give up the room. “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 in an Instagram post. “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 first apologized on Wednesday, then again on Friday, in a pair of statements obtained by HuffPost detailing the company’s plans to launch an internal investigation and reach out to Massey. Massey, who was in Portland to see rapper Travis Scott perform, said he received a call from his mother who is on the East Coast after the concert. Thinking it was an emergency, Massey said he found a “remote area” of the hotel’s lobby to answer the call. In Massey’s videos, a security guard identified as Earl can be seen telling Massey that the police have been called and he is no longer welcome at the hotel. Meanwhile, Massey, who is seated on a couch, accuses the security guard of harassing him while he was on the phone.
Later, speaking to a hotel manager identified as Luis, Massey said he was a guest of the hotel and needed privacy to take the call.
“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 says to the hotel employees.
When Earl accuses Massey of loitering by sitting in the lobby, Massey says: “So this area is off limits after a certain time?” Earl replies, “Only if you’re a guest.”
“I am a guest,” Massey says. “You didn’t tell me that,” the security guard responds. “I asked you what room you’re in and you refused.”
Later in the videos, a police officer can be seen asking Massey to leave the hotel. The Portland Police Bureau confirmed to HuffPost that officers responded to a trespassing call at the hotel late Saturday and asked Massey to gather his personal belongings from his room and leave.
Massey’s Instagram posts, which have since gone viral, reignited a national conversationover people who call the police on people of color who are doing mundane or normal activities, such as throwing a picnic or going home.
In a video message to his Instagram followers, Massey called attention to the racism he experienced.
“Racism is still alive and well. It’s sad that people have to go through these things and I know I’m not the only one. I’m not the first, and I’m not the last but I will not stand for injustice,” he said.
Throughout 2018, white people have called or threatened to call the police on an 8-year-old black girl who was selling water on a sidewalk, a pair of Native American brothers who joined a college campus tour, a black youth mentor who was babysitting two white children, a black man at a bank trying to cash his own paycheckand a black man trying to enter his own apartment building.