According to a recently filed police report, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler was briefly detained by police in a Bank of America branch after the teller mistook his request to withdraw as a robbery attempt.
Coogler confirmed that the incident happened in a statement to Variety and said he was very disappointed and that the “situation should never have happened.” However, fans were outraged at the poor treatment and shared their sympathy with the director. Read on to find out exactly what happened.
Ryan Coogler Was Detained Due To A Teller’s Mistake
According to the police report, Coogler was briefly handcuffed and detained on January 7th, after he went to the Bank of America branch to make a withdrawal. Coogler, who was wearing sunglasses, a hat, and a face mask, approached the teller and handed the teller a withdrawal slip.
The slip had a note on the back that reportedly read, “I would like to withdraw $12,000 cash from my checking account. Please do the money count somewhere else. I’d like to be discreet.” However, the teller, alarmed by the amount of the transaction, misinterpreted the situation as an attempted robbery and notified her boss.
The bank manager called the police, and four Atlanta PD officers were sent to the bank. They arrested two of Coogler’s colleagues who were waiting for him outside the bank. The colleagues were moved to the back of the police vehicle, and Coogler was soon arrested and taken to join them.
The officers then confirmed the 35-year-old director’s identity and Bank of America account. When they realized the error, they released him and his colleagues and informed the bank of the error.
The Bank Has Apologized To Coogler
When Coogler confirmed the incident to Variety, he said, “This situation should never have happened. However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on.”
A spokesperson for the Bank of America also spoke to Variety and said, “We deeply regret that this incident occurred. It should never have happened, and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler.” However, fans have expressed a lot of anger at how the incident occurred and the teller’s lack of thoroughness.
Coogler Is Currently Filming The Black Panther Sequel
Coogler has had a very successful career as a director so far. His debut directorial effort, “Fruitvale Station,” was a huge success, and his subsequent projects like 2015s “Creed” and 2018s “Black Panther” have also been blockbuster hits.
Coogler is also directing “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” the sequel to “Black Panther.” He is currently filming the movie in Atlanta, and it is set for release in November this year.
There Has Been Heightened Scrutiny On Racism
Although it’s not clear if the teller’s error was racially motivated, fans are inclined to think so due to the heightened scrutiny on incidents of racism in the U.S and various industries, especially Hollywood.
This has been the case ever since the Black Lives Matter movement regained its drive in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. The movement has focused on sharing the stories of those who have been victims of racial discrimination and seeking justice.
This is perhaps why fans have gone on social media to attribute an element of racism to the teller’s mistake, as it is a common racial stereotype that black men who are dressed the way Coogler was are committing or intend to commit a crime.