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'W Hotel' Sued By Black Manager Who Alleges He Was Called 'Wakanda' By 'Racist' Resident
By Mike Walters

The 'W Hollywood' hotel is being sued by a black hotel manager who claims he was fired after being assaulted by a white resident who called 911 after he politely asked to leave a VIP section reserved for comedian Michael Blackson. The manager also alleges during his employment, he endured ongoing harassment, including being called racist names like 'Wakanda.'

According to legal documents, obtained by The Blast, Durand Reeves who was previously the 'nightlife manager' at the W Hollywood has filed a lawsuit against the hotel alleging he was forced to suffer through racist jokes, poor treatment by guests, and claims retaliation for bringing to managements attention various health and safety issues including mold, roaches, and bugs.

In the lawsuit, filed by celebrity attorney Walter Mosley, Reeves describes an incident where he was 'humiliated' after being laughed at by his superior over a racial slur.

Hotel Manager Claims He Was Called 'Wakanda' While At Work

Gettyimages | Lilly Lawrence

"On this particular night, (Reeves) was covering for one of the bartenders during a break. (A resident) who was sitting with (another manager) and a few other customers at the bar, motioned to (Reeves) and says loudly, "Hey Wakanda" pour me another drink.

Mr. Reeves says he was "horrified and humiliated."

He continued, "Adding insult to injury" the other manager "began laughing hysterically out loud along with (the resident) at this offensive racial joke targeted at (Reeves) who is African- American."

"Any customer harassing an employee, let alone a manager, on the basis of their race, should have been removed and possibly banned," he says in the suit.

Manager Claims He Was Assaulted At Party For Comedian Michael Blackson

Durand Reeves

In the lawsuit, the manager claims on May 2, 2019, produced the largest Thursday night party of the year hosted by Comedian Michael Blackson. At the time, Reeves claims he roped off an area in the hotspot known as 'King's corner' which was to be kept empty and reserved for Blackson.

The lawsuit states that a white resident of the property crossed the roped off area and was sitting in the reserved section. Reeves claims he politely said to the resident, " "Excuse me, sir, sorry to interrupt, but this area is reserved for a group we're hosting tonight, and they have just arrived."

But, Reeves claims the man called him an "A--hole" and rebuffed him stating that "clearly you don't know who I am." The gentlemen, who owned a residential unit at the W, threatened to call the properties director.

See A Photo From Aftermath Of The Hotel Lobby Incident

The Blast

Eventually, the documents claim, the person "walked away using racial slurs under his breath" but "continued to harass the (Reeves) throughout the night calling him a "d--k" to multiple staff members.

According to the lawsuit, the situation escalated into the resident "verbally assaulting" Reeves with "a tirade of cuss words, pointing and screaming in his face. At one point, (the resident) was so close that his spit was spewing onto his face, forcing (Reeves) to remove himself from a potentially violent situation with a man much bigger and taller than him."

In the filing, Reeves says the argument continued in the hotel's lobby, and the resident pulled out a "fake badge," like he was pulling out his gun, claiming to have the authority to arrest (Reeves).

Manager Included Photos Of The Alleged 'Mold, Roaches'

The Blast

At that point, Reeves claims the resident "began to assault him in an attempt to bring him to his feet, forcibly grabbing his arms and wrists. Hotel guests jumped in between the two men and separated them. Still, hotel security did nothing and did not remove (the resident.)

"In a final act of defiance, the resident said he was "calling the police on him," pulled out his phone, and then did just that."

It continues, "a delirious and belligerent White customer, called the police on the Black manager on duty. The same type of racially motivated 911 call that attempts to weaponize law enforcement against communities of color, which legislators in California have recently introduced legislation to prevent."

He continued, "When the police arrived, three white male officers detained him outside of the W Hotel valet for 15 minutes while they check the videotape, refusing to take the word of the manager on duty of his "innocence." The officers then returned to (Reeves) and acknowledged that the tape showed (and all the witnesses attested) that (the resident) started the altercation and assaulted him."

Shockingly, Reeves claims he was told by officers if he pressed charges he would most likely taken to jail as well, and says he was threatened with overnight jail time if he took any action.

"Humiliated, (Reeves) told the police that he would "let the situation go" and asked if he could "just" return to work," the documents state.

The Blast

On the following day, Reeves claims he was "notified that he was being suspended pending an investigation."

"On May 8, 2019, in response to (Reeves) engaging in protected activity by reporting unsanitary conditions at the workplace, asking for unpaid wages, and complaining about a hostile work environment created by racial discrimination, he was informed that his employment was terminated."

In the lawsuit, the ex-manager describes a number of unsanitary conditions inside some of the properties restaurants and bars, including, "mold, cross-contamination of alcohol, roaches, and bugs. He included photographs of alleged issues in the filing.

Reeves is suing the W Hotel, and its parent company, for at least $3.5 Million in damages.

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