BET Co-Founder Bob Johnson Says Luxury Hotel Racially Profiled Him – They Made Me Take Off My Glasses!
Bob Johnson is accusing a luxury Florida hotel of racial profiling. When Johnson, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) arrived to the Eau Palm Beach, everything seemed normal. It wasn’t until he arrived to the front desk when things started to take a sour turn. After presenting his driver’s license, American Express card, and passport he was asked to remove his prescription sunglasses in order to prevent fraud, he says. Originally being taken aback by the request, he says he thought it was a joke.
She said well, I can’t check you in if you don’t take off your glasses.
After refusing to remove his glasses, Johnson requested the police be called. Upon the police’s arrival, Johnson was able to talk about what had just occurred and ultimately, no resolution was reached. Johnson left the hotel and stated he would never return. Johnson says he is familiar with taking his glasses off when he travels in and out of the country, but not at a U.S. hotel. Reportedly, the billionaire also owns over 100 hotels and counter states that this policy is absurd. He said,
“I think it’s a silly rule and I think it has overtones of racial profiling.”
Nick Gold is a spokesman for the 5-star luxury hotel and affirmed the front desk was only following proper procedure. In a statement he said,
“It is standard operating procedure in the industry to ask to make sure that the person who is presenting themselves to check-in and they present identification that it does match and if they’re wearing dark glasses with a ball cap low over their face, you want to make sure that it is the same person, much like what would happen at TSA rules going through the airport. We’d love for him to come back. All guests are welcome here at Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa and we pride ourselves on how we treat our guests.”
After Johnson (real name is Robert L. Johnson) sold BET in 2001, he became the first black billionaire. In 2008, he was under fire for making controversial remarks about Barack Obama to Hilary Clinton supporters. He later apologized for said statements.