The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland employees who allegedly evicted a black guest for speaking on his mobile phone in the lobby have been placed on administrative leave.
A spokesperson for Hilton says that the Oregon hotel’s owners are conducting an internal investigation of the incident. DoubleTree is one of Hilton’s 14 brands, which are for the most part franchised and independently operated.
“We are aware of the incident that took place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland and have zero tolerance for racism,” Hilton said in a written statement. “We are working with the independently owned and operated property, who have confirmed that the owner’s employees involved have been placed on administrative leave while they complete their internal investigation.”
Jermaine Massey accused the hotel of racially profiling him. He said employees at the DoubleTree called the police after he took a call from his mother in the lobby on Dec. 22. He had just returned from a concert by rapper Travis Scott at the nearby Moda Center.
Massey, in Instagram posts that included videos, said a white hotel security guard named Earl approached him and asked for his room number. Massey said he confirmed he was a guest. The hotel employees accused him of posing a safety threat and causing a disturbance. Police arrived and escorted him off the property.
Paul Peralta, general manager of Doubletree by Hilton Portland, says the hotel has apologized to Massey.
The incident, he says, “was unacceptable and contrary to our values, beliefs and how we seek to treat all people who visit our hotel.”
The hotel’s internal investigation will involve outside help.
“We have a zero-tolerance stance on discrimination of any kind, and do not tolerate behavior of that nature,” he says. “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.”
Portland Police told USA TODAY earlier this week that officers responded to DoubleTree Hotel Portland “regarding a person who hotel staff were (removing) from the property.”
“The employees, who had authority to (remove) people from the hotel, requested the officer contact a person in the lobby they had reportedly directed to leave the property,” the statement read.
Hilton and Peralta did not elaborate on how many employees are on leave or on whether or not they are getting paid while the investigation is ongoing.