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I’ve Been Here for Two Nights’: Black Man Sues California Marriott After He Was Allegedly Told to Get off the Property While He Was a Guest

A Black man has filed a lawsuit against a Bay Area Marriott, alleging he was discriminated against by the manager of the hotel during a 2020 stay with his fiancée.

Dramaine Vinegar said his April three-night stay at the Alameda County hotel last year was marred by an instance of a discrimination when the manager of the Fremont Marriott Silicon Valley berated him as he spoke on the phone in the building’s parking lot while he was still a guest at the hotel.

“I’m 100 percent certain if I was white, he wouldn’t have addressed me like that,” Vinegar said to The San Franscio Chronicle.

Dramaine Vinegar said his April three-night stay at the Alameda County hotel last year was marred by an instance of a discrimination when the manager of the Fremont Marriott Silicon Valley asked him to leave the property. (Photo: Lisa Cabrera/ Facebook)

According to the lawsuit, on the second-to-last day of his stay, Vinegar sat in his car in the parking lot of the hotel to make a phone call.

A car pulled up behind him, and the hotel manager, William Gheen, jumped out and told Vinegar to “Get the f— off the property.”

When Vinegar told Gheen he had a “motel” room, Gheen replied, “It’s a hotel, not a motel.

The lawsuit names Gheen, Marriott International, and the hotel’s franchisee and management company, Fremont Hotel Operating Co. and Remington Hotels. The suit doesn’t name any damages, but Vinegar said he wants hotel managers to be screened for racial bias before being hired.

Vinegar filmed a part of the altercation that took place in the hotel lobby.

“I’m a customer. I’ve been here for two nights. You got out your truck, and you told me to get the f— off of private property without even addressing me properly,” Vinegar told Gheen. The manager responded by putting up his middle finger and walking way. The Chronicle reported that a person at the hotel said no one by the name of Gheen currently works there.

Though the footage doesn’t show Gheen using any racial slurs, Vinegar said he felt profiled, adding that he never would have been treated that way “in a million years” if he had been white.

Vinegar checked out of the hotel that night and wrote a review about his experience online. The hotel then emailed him, offering him a free room and asking him to reach out to the corporate office. By that point, Vinegar had already contacted an attorney.

Jason Kafoury, whose Oregon firm is involved with more than 12 lawsuits related to hotel managers allegedly profiling Black customers, said there is “a pattern of white managers in hotels walking up to paying guests and racially profiling them to try to clear out lobbies and parking lots.”

For Vinegar, the suit is about helping people understand that they “have to treat all races the same.”

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