A former employee at Atlanta’s Philips Arena has taken legal action against the venue’s operator, ATL Hawks LLC, after claiming that Black performers are confronted with tighter security measures than White performers, reports the Washington Post.
According to the outlet, Samuel R. Hayes, a former security manager at the arena, claimed that one of his supervisors made several security exceptions for White artists that included Bon Jovi, Radiohead, and Adele — allowing them to bypass metal detectors and other security measures. He also claimed that Black artists like Future, Diddy, Kanye West and Drake weren’t given the same options and faced tighter security protocols, writes the source.
When he inquired about the tighter security at hip-hop concerts he was reportedly told by his supervisor that “hip-hop acts draw a different crowd, and the White acts bring in more money.”
After speaking up about the issue and accusing the arena of discrimination and racial profiling Hayes—who led an all-Black security staff and oversaw the security operations for the Atlanta Hawks between August 2016 and April—was fired.
The Post reports that he filed a lawsuit in federal court on Monday against ATL Hawks LLC and his direct manager Jason Parker, vice president of customer service and operations.
In the lawsuit, Hayes claims that as soon as he started his job he observed that security measures are enforced based on race. “It was obvious that race (not safety) determined which entertainers and celebrities were permitted to bypass security protocol, and which entertainers and celebrities were not,” read the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, he also states that the venue’s decision to let him go was “based on race, including stereotypes, myths, assumptions, and preconceived notions of blacks (especially black men) as ‘angry’ and ‘aggressive,’” reports the source.
Hayes is seeking unspecified damages.
Nzinga Shaw, who serves as the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Atlanta Hawks, says Hayes was fired due to his job performance, reports the Post.
This isn’t the first time that racial controversy has swirled around the Atlanta Hawks. The team’s former general manager Wes Wilcox came under fire earlier this year for making an insulting, stereotypical joke about Black women.
SOURCE: Washington Post