PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Just a day after issuing an apology on Twitter and placing 2 employees on leave over throwing out a registered guest in their hotel lobby, the DoubleTree Hotel in Portland announced those employees were fired.
“We have terminated the employment of the two men involved in the mistreatment of Mr. Massey. Their actions were inconsistent with our standards & values. We reiterate our sincere apology for what he endured & will work with diversity experts to ensure this never happens again,” the DoubleTree tweeted Saturday morning.
We have terminated the employment of the two men involved in the mistreatment of Mr. Massey. Their actions were inconsistent with our standards & values. We reiterate our sincere apology for what he endured & will work with diversity experts to ensure this never happens again.— DoubleTree Portland (@doubletreepdx) December 29, 2018
Hilton also released a statement later the same day, explaining that it has “zero tolerance for racism” and is working with DoubleTree, which is independently owned and operated.
“We will continue to work with the property’s ownership and management, including reinforcing the availability of Hilton’s extensive Diversity & Inclusion training curriculum. This is available to all hotels within our network, including franchise properties.
Hilton also holds our franchise partners to related standards. We have made diversity and unconscious bias training mandatory for General Managers and encouraged for other hotel managers across all Hilton-branded properties.”
Jermaine Massey was a registered guest who was talking on the phone in the lobby with his mother when a security guard and a hotel manager called police and reported him as a trespasser. Massey, who is black, recorded the interaction on his phone and posted it on social media.
He claimed he was targeted for “calling his mother while black.”
In an interview with CNN, Massey said he asked police what his options were after he was told to leave the hotel premises. He said officials told him he would be arrested if he refused to leave.
“It’s hurtful,” Massey told CNN. “It’s humiliating and I don’t understand why it continues to be an issue. I’m a person at the end of the day just like everyone else and I deserve respect and fair treatment and I did not receive that.”
The Kent, Washington resident hired the Portland law firm of Kafoury & McDougal, who demanded public answers to 2 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.
What happened on December 22
After Massey 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.
On Friday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler weighed in on the issue:
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
Wheeler tweeted: “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.”
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.