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Hotel fires employees who asked guest to leave

Two employees seen on video asking a black guest to leave a Portland, Oregon, hotel after he took a phone call in the lobby have been let go, the hotel said. Jermaine Massey was in the hotel lobby when a security guard informed him that police were on their way to escort him off the property. CNN's Miguel Marquez reports.

Posted: Dec 31, 2018 12:02 PM
Updated: Dec 31, 2018 12:12 PM

Two employees seen on video asking a black guest to leave a Portland, Oregon, hotel after he took a phone call in the lobby have been let go, the facility said Saturday on Twitter.

The incident took place December 22 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland.

Jermaine Massey was in the hotel lobby when a security guard informed him that police were on their way to escort him off the property.

Massey accused the guard of "harassing" him, and in a statement provided to CNN by his attorneys, characterized the incident as "calling his mother while black."

"We have terminated the employment of the two men involved in the mistreatment of Mr. Massey," the hotel said on Twitter.

"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 move comes a day after the hotel apologized to Massey. On Friday, it placed the employees on leave during an investigation and said it would take "the appropriate measures to ensure this does not happen again."

"We have a zero-tolerance stance on discrimination of any kind, and do not tolerate behavior of that nature," the hotel said then on Twitter.

In a series of Instagram videos recorded by Massey and obtained by CNN, he is heard asking the guard, "But why? But I'm staying here." "Not anymore," the security guard replies.

Massey then told a hotel desk staffer he was taking a personal phone call in the lobby when the guard began to question why he was there. At one point in the videos, he shows the two men his keycard envelope with the room number and date written on it.

Hotel staff contacted the Portland Police Bureau and asked an officer to speak with Massey after employees asked him to leave the property, according to a police statement.

The officer then escorted Massey back to his room to collect his belongings and offered him assistance to a different hotel, but he declined, police said.

Massey's attorneys told CNN that hotel staff demanded he be arrested for trespassing if he did not leave the property at that time.

In addition to reaching out to the hotel, CNN has also sought comment from the two employees shown in Massey's Instagram videos.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Friday condemned the incident.

"It is deeply troubling to hear about Mr. Massey's experience with discrimination," he tweeted. "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."

DoubleTree's general manager, Paul Peralta, called the incident "unfortunate" and said the hotel had tried to contact Massey.

"We are sorry that this matter ended the way it did and have reached out to the gentleman in order to resolve this matter," Peralta said in a statement this week. "We are a place of public accommodation and place a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion and our hotel does not discriminate against any individual or group. We look forward to speaking with him."

"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."

The DoubleTree said it will ask a third party to investigate the incident and review its "internal processes, protocols and trainings to ensure we are creating and maintaining a safe space for everyone."

Through his attorneys, Massey has asked the Portland DoubleTree to explain why they considered him a threat to hotel security, and why security even questioned him in the first place.

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