The DoubleTree hotel in Portland, Oregon that found itself engulfed in controversy this past week fired the two employees who were responsible for calling police on a black guest while he was talking on the phone in the lobby. The Hilton-owned hotel posted a statement on Twitter saying that the “mistreatment” of Jermaine Massey was “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.”
Massey’s story went viral after he posted a series of videos on Instagram showing how a security guard and a manager at the hotel were responsible for kicking him out even though he was a guest there. The guard—who came to be known as “Hotel Earl” on social media—apparently asked Massey whether he was a guest in the middle of his phone call and then decided to call police when he was not satisfied with the answer. When police arrived they told Massey he had to leave, meaning he was forced to find a new place to spend the night at around midnight. “I was racially profiled and treated unfairly,” Massey said in one of a series of Instagram videos.
The hotel announced the terminations a day after it issued a statement saying it had placed the employees on leave while it reviewed the incident. “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 hotel’s general manager, Paul Peralta, said. “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.”