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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Black Artist Files Complaint Against Manhattan Hotel Alleging Staff Racially Profiled Him

Kahlil Robert Irving claims the High Line Hotel manager trespassed and verbally assaulted him during his stay

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5th Avenue at dusk, Manhattan, New York City
5th Avenue at dusk, Manhattan, New York City
Photo: dibrova (Shutterstock)

No matter what great things Black people do, instances of racism always find a way to meet you. Artist Kahlil Robert Irving has had his works shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of Art. Unfortunately, he had to file a racial discrimination complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights against a Manhattan hotel accusing staffers of trespassing and racial profiling, according to Hyperallergic

In January, Irving stayed at the High Line Hotel in New York. On the morning of the 22nd, the hotel manager went into his room and asked if he was ok when he was sleeping in his room. Apparently, his door was slightly open. After returning to sleep, the manager and a worker went into his room again re-without knocking or announcing themselves. The complaints claim the manager hovered over Irving’s bed while “screaming” and using “abusive language.” His colleague was said to be blocking the entranceway.

From Hyperallergic:

According to Irving’s written description, the manager told him that he was “not supposed to be here” and that he had to leave, and further identified him as an unhoused person who had invaded the room — all despite Irving’s reiterations that he had booked a stay at the hotel. Only after Irving was able to summon evidence of his reservation on his phone did the hotel manager and his partner realize their mistake and retreat.

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As indicated in the following statement, Irving was shaken up by this whole ordeal.

“To state the obvious: As a twenty-nine-year-old Black man, it was highly traumatic to be confronted by two older white men who barged into my hotel room unannounced while I was sleeping, screaming at me and saying that I needed to leave immediately and that the police were being called,” Irving wrote. “Can one seriously believe that this incident would have taken place and would have unfolded in such an aggressive and malicious manner, for any other reason, and absent hostile, racial stereotyping?”

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Irving’s complaint also alleges that the hotel manager or staff had not checked the hotel’s computer system to check if he was a registered guest. He says to Hyperallergic that “neither the hotel nor its parent company MCR Hotels has acknowledged that the attack was racially motivated, calling it a “misunderstanding.”