A black guest at an Oregon hotel is accusing the staff of racially profiling him after the police were called on him as he made a phone call in the lobby. He ultimately was forced to give up his room.
Jermaine Massey, in videos posted to Instagram, said he was in Portland on Saturday to see rapper Travis Scott perform when, after the concert, he got a call from his mother on the East Coast. Because of the late hour of her call, he said that he suspected that it may be an emergency so he found a “remote area” in the DoubleTree Hotel’s lobby and answered the call.
Though it’s not entirely clear what happened immediately after that, videos posted by Massey show a white security guard, identified only as “Earl,” telling him that he is no longer welcome at the hotel and that police have been called.
“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, who is seen sitting on a couch, tells a hotel manager identified as Luis.
When Massey questions the security guard about why he was confronted about being in the lobby and while other guests weren’t similarly questioned, the guard tells him that it was because he was loitering.
“How am I loitering in an area that’s public?” Massey responds.
“You’re sitting here.”
“So this area is off limits after a certain time?”
“Only if you’re a guest.”
“You didn’t tell me that,” the guard responds. “I asked what room you’re in and you refused.”
Massey, who The Oregonian reported is from Washington state, said in his videos that it was clear to him what was really going on.
“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 said. “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 Portland Police Bureau confirmed to HuffPost that officers responded to a call about a trespasser at the hotel late Saturday night and that Massey was asked to gather his personal items from his room and leave.
The hotel’s general manager, Paul Peralta, called the situation “unfortunate,” and said that the hotel’s staff looks forward to speaking with Massey again.
“The safety, security and comfort of our guests and associates is our top priority at the DoubleTree by Hilton Portland,” Peralta said in a statement obtained by HuffPost. “We are sorry that this matter ended the way it did and have reached out to the gentleman in order to resolve this matter. We are [a] place of public accommodation and place a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion and our hotel does not discriminate against any individual or group.”
In a video message posted by Massey, he vowed to continue to speak out about his ordeal and spotlight the incident.
“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.