A black man who was a guest at an Oregon DoubleTree hotel says he was racially profiled by security guards as he sat in the lobby.
Jermaine Massey is a resident of Kent, Washington, but was in Portland to see rapper Travis Scott perform last Saturday.
Once he got back to the hotel, Massey said he received a late night call from his mother regarding a family emergency.
While he was on the phone, seated in an empty area of the lobby, he said hotel security guards approached him and asked him to leave.
He recorded the encounter on his phone and posted it to Instagram.
“I didn’t do anything to you. I’m sitting over here taking a phone call,” Massey can be heard saying while the camera remains focused on the security guard.
At one point, Massey takes out his room key. Still, guards do not appear to believe he is a guest.
Then, security guards call the police. Massey’s caption under the videos reads in part, “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,” he wrote.
“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,” he stated.
On Thursday, DoubleTree said they were launching an investigation, in addition to reviewing their protocols and training. “We have a zero tolerance stance on discrimination of any kind,” the hotel said in a statement.
Internet users have dubbed the guard “Hotel Earl.” This becomes the latest instance of police being called on black people while performing daily activities-- including barbequing, swimming, sleeping, and meeting at coffee shops.
In a statement, Massey’s lawyer said some questions still linger. “Why was he approached by security and interrogated? And why was he called a threat to safety and security of guests?”
The two employees accused of racially profiling Massey have been put on leave.