It may be 2014, but apparently Black women having drinks in a hotel bar can not only look suspicious, but they might be mistaken for prostitutes. Three Black women claim that a security guard at New York’s Standard Hotel accused them of solicitation last month when they were drinking at the hotel’s bar. No, this is not a classic 80’s sitcom episode, this is real life.
What year is it again?
AlterNet learned of the incident and a subsequent email from a hotel representative offering the women a bottle of champagne and a $400 dinner at the hotel’s restaurant as an apology for the incident. Oh is that the price for being humiliated, demeaned, and being mistaken for prostitutes?
Kantaki Washington, a lawyer, described the incident to AlterNet. She explained that she and her two friends were speaking with a man at the hotel bar when they were approached by a security officer.
“After the security guard ushers the brotha away, he comes over to me and my friends and says, ‘Come on, ladies. You can buy a drink but you can’t be soliciting,'” Washington told AlterNet. “We were like, soliciting? He said, ‘Don’t act stupid with me, ladies. You know what you’re doing. Stop soliciting in here. We were like, ‘Soliciting what?'”
According to Washington, the three were the only Black women in the bar.
The Standard Hotel issued a statement to Daily Intelligencer:
“Both the misinformation and comments made were provided by third parties, not employed by The Standard. The Standard has zero tolerance for any type of discrimination at any of our properties and profusely regrets the situation.”
It seems that the hotel is trying to back away from the actions of the security guard, insinuating that he is not an employee of the hotel. However, he is a representative of the hotel and therefore should have conducted himself accordingly. Randomly accusing women of prostitution, seemingly solely because of their race and the fact that they were speaking with a man, is troublesome to say the least. And when you couple this weak apology with the fact that the women were essentially offered a gift certificate for their trouble, The Standard Hotel needs to set a new standard.