DoubleTree Portland fires employees who told black hotel guest to leave the lobby
PORTLAND, Ore. – The two employees who were recorded telling a black guest to leave the DoubleTree Hotel in Portland while he was making a phone call in the lobby have been fired, according to a twitter account for the hotel.
Jermaine Massey’s videos of the incident have gone viral. He says he plans to file a lawsuit.
A week after Massey was kicked out of the hotel, DoubleTree Portland announced that the two men involved in the incident have been fired for their “mistreatment of Mr. Massey.”
“We reiterate our sincere apology for what he endured & will work with diversity experts to ensure this never happens again,” a spokesperson said.
"The actions of the hotel manager and the hotel security guard are routine racism," his attorney, Greg Kafoury, told KATU News in an interview Friday.
Massey said the video clips show staff members, including a security guard named Earl Meyers, ordering him to leave.
"I was racially profiled and treated unfairly," Massey explains in one of the videos.
Activists say incidents like this happen nearly every day in Portland. Teressa Raiford, an organizer with Don't Shoot Portland, says the Massey incident didn't surprise her, but Portland should be embarrassed.
"An out of town guest, that is, a black person has had to deal with the same things we've had to deal with and that the rest of the country is looking at it, it's respite for us," Raiford said. "It's an opportunity for black-Portlanders to say, 'You see the dynamics are working out here?' When is white Portland going to step up."
According to data from the Portland Police Bureau, there were 13 confirmed incidents of racial bias towards black people since 2015. According to the latest FBI statistics from 2017, there were 84 racially-bias incidents in Oregon. Experts say these are vastly underreported.
"We all need to do better, it's going to take work. It's not an easy fix. It's not going to be a quick,little anti-racist training," Raiford said.
Massey was a paid guest at the DoubleTree at the time and said he was in the lobby at around 11 p.m. Saturday talking on the phone with his mother. He said he'd just come back from a concert at the Moda Center.
"Seems like almost as soon as I sat down, the security guy, white, older male approached me while I was on the phone and interrupted me and said, you know, 'Are you staying here?'" Massey says.
In a police report, a Portland officer says Meyers told him, "(Massey) instantly accused Meyers of being a racist and only asking him because he was black. ... Meyers said (Massey) refused to give a room number and he told (Massey) if he couldn't provide a room number he would have to ask him to leave the property."
Kafoury said that's not true and told a KATU reporter Massey showed Meyers his key.
"We anticipate filing a lawsuit against Hilton DoubleTree and requiring them to answer the question they've so far refused to answer, which is, why was this guy approached in a hotel lobby when he's doing nothing more than talking to his mother on the phone? Why was he interrogated? Why was he ordered to leave on pain of going to jail?" said Kafoury.
Officers escorted Massey to his room at the hotel so he could collect his belongings. They then escorted him off the property telling him he could later file a complaint with the hotel's management. No one was arrested.
"He checked into the hotel in the afternoon. He went to dinner," Kafoury explained. "He went to the concert, came back, returned a call from his mother back east. And look how he got treated."
Paul Peralta, the general manager of the DoubleTree Hotel, sent KATU the following statement Saturday morning:
“Following an internal review, we have terminated the employment of the security guard and manager involved in this incident. Our hotel is a place of hospitality, and their actions were inconsistent with our standards and values.
"Our hotel is committed to engaging outside advisors and experts in diversity and inclusion to evaluate our processes, protocols and trainings to ensure something like this does not happen again.
"We reiterate our sincere apology to Mr. Massey for his treatment this past weekend, and deeply regret the experience he endured.”