A TikTok influencer says he was discriminated against and wrongfully kicked out of a luxury 5-star hotel in Florida last week.
Oliver James, known as @oliverspeaks1 with 270,000 followers, has gone viral on the platform after sharing his journey of teaching himself how to read. He was staying at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach because he was slated to appear at the Barbara Bush Foundation Literacy Day event.
While he was reading and exercising with his supporters on a live stream, hotel security approached and questioned him, adding that they received a report about a disturbance on the pool deck. In the video of the interaction posted on his page, James appears to be standing in a courtyard.
“Are you staying at the hotel?” the security said. “Were you on the pool deck just now?”
“Why are you asking?” James asked repeatedly before the security informed him that tripods weren’t allowed on the property.
“Someone called about and said there’s a disturbance at the pool deck,” the security said.
“Is this the pool deck?” James asked, looking at the grassy area. “I have not moved from here. I want to be treated like any other person who would come to this hotel. I don’t want to be treated any different. You don’t come talk to me. Someone called you and told you I was doing something I wasn’t doing? I don’t like that.”
James then started to talk to his supporters about the situation, stating that he should be treated like the other guests and was only outside for 10 minutes. At one point, the cops arrived at the hotel.
“They didn’t ask me to leave. You’re telling me that,” James told the officer. “OK, then I’ll leave.”
An employee said other guests complained he was being too loud: “Y’all making a big mistake,” James said.
Speaking to WPBF, the literacy advocate said he was targeted during the incident on Monday, Nov. 13.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it. One hundred percent, why would you walk directly up to me? There’s a thousand people in this whole entire place,” James said. “There were people at the pool. They still haven’t went to the pool and asked who was causing this disturbance at the pool; apparently, it was me.”
In a statement to the outlet, the hotel said it does not allow guests who “engage in conduct in public spaces that disrupts the experience of others.”
“In this case, a guest was filming on a tripod in a public space and speaking loudly, disturbing other guests. The Breakers’ security politely requested the guest identify himself, lower his volume, and refrain from use of the tripod,” the statement continued. “The guest refused to comply. As a result, the guest was asked to leave. Acceptable standards of conduct apply equally to everyone, and we unequivocally deny any allegation of discrimination.”