Staff for Portland’s Hilton DoubleTree Hotel say they’ve reached out to a guest who was evicted Dec. 22.
But that guest, Jermaine Massey, said through his attorneys Thursday that he’s not interested in a closed-doors discussion.
“The hotel has requested a private discussion, but Mr. Massey was publicly humiliated,” attorneys Gregory and Jason Kafoury of the law firm Kafoury and McDougal wrote in a statement.
Courtesy of Jermaine Massey/Instagram
Massey, who is African-American, gained widespread media attention after he posted videos of his interaction with a hotel security guard named Earl Meyers on social media. In the videos, Meyers is seen requesting police to remove Massey from the hotel lobby. Massey was a guest at the time.
Later video posted by Massey shows a Portland police officer escorting him out of the hotel at the request of staff.
“He’s calling the cops on me because I’m taking a phone call at the DoubleTree Hotel,” Massey says in the video. “I have not moved, I have been sitting here the whole time and they’re calling the police on me because I’m taking a phone call in the lobby. Did you ask any of those people walking by what room they were staying in? No.”
A police report of the incident says that Massey left the hotel willingly and accused DoubleTree staff of racially profiling him.
“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,” Massey’s attorneys wrote in their statement.
The incident was the latest occurrence of potential racial profiling to gain publicity in Oregon. In July, a constituent called the police on Oregon Rep. Janelle Bynum, who is African-American, while she was out canvassing in the Clackamas district she represents.
Massey has declined to speak to media, but his lawyers said the hotel should publicly answer two 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,” the statement reads.
The attorneys go on to say that if the hotel answers those questions publicly, Massey would be willing to speak about the matter.
Hotel general manager Paul Peralta released a statement Monday, asking to privately resolve the issue.
“This unfortunate incident is likely the result of a misunderstanding between our hotel and guest,” Peralta said. “We are sorry that this matter ended the way it did. We are a place of public accommodation and do not discriminate against any individuals or groups. We have reached out to the guest in order to resolve this matter.”