PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Jermaine Massey, the registered guest who was thrown out of the DoubleTree Hotel in the Lloyd District while he was on the phone in their lobby, has hired a well-known Portland law firm and is demanding “a public statement response” from the hotel.
Two employees accused of racially profiling Massey in the lobby of the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel were on leave Friday morning. The hotel apologized a second time to Massey, who in widely shared Instagram videos claimed he was targeted for “calling his mother while black.”
Massey’s attorney, Jason Kafoury, sat down with KOIN 6 News on Friday. Kafoury said Massey was “approached for no reason by a security guard” and then “forced to leave the hotel at midnight” despite being a registered guest.
“He was humiliated, shocked, he had Portland police walk him out of a hotel in front of a bunch of other guests,” said Kafoury. “He’s never been treated like this in his entire life.”
Kafoury said he and his client are demanding DoubleTree publicly answer 2 questions: why Massey was approached and questioned in the first place and why he was deemed a security threat.
In a statement released to KOIN 6 News on Friday morning, DoubleTree Portland GM Paul Peralta said:
“We sincerely apologize to Mr. Massey for his treatment this past weekend, and deeply regret the experience he endured. It was unacceptable and contrary to our values, beliefs and how we seek to treat all people who visit our hotel.
“We have a zero-tolerance stance on discrimination of any kind, and do not tolerate behavior of that nature. We are seeking the counsel of community leaders, and will engage a third-party to conduct a full investigation into the incident – reviewing our internal processes, protocols and trainings to ensure we are creating and maintaining a safe space for everyone. The employees involved have since been placed on leave for the duration of this investigation, and we will take the appropriate measures to ensure this does not happen again.”
We sincerely apologize to Mr. Massey for his treatment this past weekend, and deeply regret the experience he endured. It was unacceptable and contrary to our values, beliefs and how we seek to treat all people who visit our hotel. (1/4)— DoubleTree Portland (@doubletreepdx) December 28, 2018
We are seeking the counsel of community leaders, and will engage a third-party to conduct a full investigation into the incident – reviewing our internal processes, protocols and trainings to ensure we are creating and maintaining a safe space for everyone. (3/4)— DoubleTree Portland (@doubletreepdx) December 28, 2018
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler weighed in on the issue with a Friday afternoon tweet:
It is deeply troubling to hear about Mr. Massey’s experience with discrimination. 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. https://t.co/rYpQCL9x3g— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) December 28, 2018
What happened on December 22
After Massey, who lives in Kent, Washington, had seen Travis Scott at the nearby Moda Center, he returned to his hotel and was on the phone with his mother. He sat in the lobby of the DoubleTree and spoke with her when a security guard “persisted in questioning his presence,” attorney Jason Kafoury said in a statement.
The security guard continued and the hotel manager called Portland police and “demanded that he be arrested for trespass if he did not leave the premises.”
Massey, who is black, recorded the encounter with a security guard named Earl on his phone and posted it to Instagram. In those posts, he claims he was racially profiled.
The police came. Massey complied with their directives, gathered his belongings and left the hotel. Police offered him a ride “but Mr. Massey explained he had his own car and would drive himself, rather than leave in the back of a police car,” his attorneys said.
According to the police report, the 34-year-old, who said he was “a former FBI agent … became loud and started yelling that the hotel was racist,” CBS News reports.
Through the law firm of Kafoury & McDougal, Massey wants DoubleTree to answer these questions:
Why was Mr. Massey approached by security? Why was he interrogated?
Please explain in detail in what manner Mr. Massey was a threat to safety or security.
“The hotel has requested a private discussion, but Mr. Massey was publicly humiliated,” his attorneys said. “Therefore, he demands a public statement response.”
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.
JERMAINE MASSEY, AN AFRICAN AMERICAN GUEST AT THE HILTON DOUBLETREE IN PORTLAND CALLS FOR THE HOTEL TO EXPLAIN ITS CONDUCT
On December 22, 2018, at about 11 p.m., Jermaine Massey was, “calling his mother while black,” from a quiet corner of the lobby of the DoubleTree hotel in Portland, Oregon, when hotel security demanded to know if he was a guest. Mr. Massey replied that he was. The security guard persisted in questioning his presence, even after Mr. Massey presented his hotel key to the guard. When Mr. Massey asked why he was being singled out, security guard Earl Meyers replied that he was a “security threat.” The hotel manager called Portland police, who explained to Mr. Massey that the hotel demanded that he be arrested for trespass if he did not leave the premises. The officers escorted Mr. Massey to his room, where he gathered his personal belongings and left. The officer offered him a ride, but Mr. Massey explained he had his own car and would drive himself, rather than leave in the back of a police car.
Mr. Massey has retained the Portland law firm of Kafoury & McDougal. Through his attorneys, Mr. Massey invites the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel chain to publicly answer the following questions:
1. As the video shows, the incident took place in a quiet corner of the hotel lobby which was open to the public. At the time, Mr. Massey was returning a personal phone call from his mother who lives on the East Coast. Why was Mr. Massey approached by security? Why was he interrogated?
2. The security guard told Mr. Massey that he was a “threat to security,” a statement echoed by the hotel chain’s press release, which states, “Safety and security of our guests and associates is our top priority.” Please explain in detail in what manner Mr. Massey was a threat to safety or security.
Once these questions are fully and completely answered, Mr. Massey may be willing to speak publicly on this matter. The hotel has requested a private discussion, but Mr. Massey was publicly humiliated. Therefore, he demands a public statement response. The press is requested to make all contacts with Mr. Massey through his attorneys. Please respect his and his family’s privacy during this difficult time.