‘Sit My Black A— Down’: Four Tops Lead Singer Sues Hospital, Offered a $25 Gift Card After Being Racially Profiled and Placed In Straitjacket During ER Visit

Alexander Morris, the lead singer of Motown Records’ The Four Tops, has filed a federal lawsuit against Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Michigan. He claims doctors wrongfully placed him in restraints and ordered a psychological evaluation, alleging his institutionalization was racially motivated.

Morris, 53, represented by attorneys Maurice Davis and Jasmine Rand, filed the complaint on June 10 in the Eastern District of Michigan. The lawsuit names the hospital, Nurse Holly Jackson, and security guard Greg Ciesielski as defendants.

four tops singer files racial discrimination suit
 (L-R) Lawrence Payton, Alexander Morris, Ronnie McNeir, and Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir of Four Tops. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

The complaint states that in April 2023, Morris, experiencing chest pain and difficulty breathing, requested additional security due to his fame. He alleges racial discrimination and false imprisonment after medical professionals labeled him “delusional.”

Despite offering his identification, Morris claims a white security guard told him to “sit his Black ass down” and, when he refused, placed him in a straitjacket. The lawsuit asserts that nursing staff did not intervene to stop the racial discrimination and mistreatment, including taking Morris off oxygen for a psychiatric evaluation.

To prove he was not delusional, Morris, who joined the group in 2018, showed a nurse a video of him performing at the Grammys, the complaint states. Subsequently, the staff canceled the evaluation, removed the restraints, and returned him to oxygen after about 90 minutes. The hospital then offered Morris a $25 gift card, which he refused.

In a statement through his lawyers, Morris described the experience as “terrifying” and criticized the hospital for violating his civil rights but denying him his basic dignity.

“The hospital denied my identity and my basic human dignity and then offered me a gift card,” Morris said in a statement, according to The New York Times.

He further condemned the hospital’s response, noting the security guard was not fired, and expressed his intent to hold the hospital accountable and combat racism in health care.

“I see all of these posts on social media like ‘driving while Black,’ ‘walking while Black,’ but I never imagined I would become a victim of ‘being sick while Black,’” Morris continued, according to Statnews.com.

“The hospital never fired the security guard that told me to sit my Black a— down,” the statement added. “Clearly they condone racism. I filed the lawsuit to hold the hospital accountable for the way I was treated and to protect the younger generations from racism in healthcare.”

After the lawsuit was filed, social media chimed in, asking, “how in today’s world does it not occur to people to take 10 seconds to google the 4 tops.”

“This is unbelievable I’ve worked in health care WTF stopped staff from checking the wiki on the Four Tops and matching the info to his ID? (trick question. it was the antiBlackness),” one X user tweeted.

“Their job was to treat him FIRST. Im sure he had ID and insurance,” someone blasted. “They could validate his celebrity status later.”

Another wrote, “One would have to be pretty confident in their Four Tops knowledge to do this. Or racist.”

“#AlexanderMorris of the #FourTops when he tries to get ER treatment at #Ascension Macomb Oakland Hospital. This place has been an abusive sh*thole for a VERY LONG TIME. Sue their MF pants off, man. Best wishes, Mr. Morris! So sorry you suffered through that horrible mistreatment,” one more comment read.

Another added, “Looks like a hospital may soon be owned by a member of the Four Tops.”

While many were outraged that no one took the time to research his celebrity claim, immediately suggesting that he was mentally ill, others were outraged by the consolation offer.

The hospital also released a statement, “We remain committed to honoring human dignity and acting with integrity and compassion for all persons and the community. We do not condone racial discrimination of any kind.”

Reportedly, Ciesielski died five months after the incident due to a ruptured aorta. The lawsuit does not mention his death.

The Four Tops continues to perform, maintaining a legacy despite changes in its lineup. Its only surviving original member, Abdul Fakir, 88, invited Morris to join the group in 2018 to replace Harold Bonhart, who replaced Theo Peoples, who replaced Levi Stubbs (the original lead singer).

Morris started with Fakir and two other newer members performing in 2019, a year before the world shut down for COVID, and some argue that it is plausible that he was too new of a member for the average music fan to know he was part of the group.

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