Popular Houston Hotel Slapped With Back-To-Back Discrimination Lawsuits From Black Guests
Two lawsuits are accusing the Post Oak Hotel in Houston of discriminating against Black guests, ABC 13 reports.
The popular hotel was sued two weeks apart regarding separate incidents, the outlet reports. Guests are accusing the hotel’s restaurant employees of allegedly singling them out due to their race and enforcing a dress code that was anot enforced for white guests.
Willie Powells, a lawyer, filed his lawsuit against the hotel on Oct. 6. for an incident that occurred on Mar. 8, 2023.
Powells claims when he went to meet with a fellow lawyer, an employee asked him to remove his hat in a rude manor. However, he noticed a table nearby with close to seven white people wearing some sort of headgear, including cowboy hats. He pointed out the table, but the employee continued to ask him to remove his hat. According to the lawsuit, Powells says the employee’s behavior interrupted the meeting and forced him out of the hotel.
The second lawsuit stems from an incident at the Bloom & Bee Restaurant inside Post Oak. Blessing Nwosu, a school teacher, came to the restaurant for a birthday celebration when she claimed a hostess, also a minority, said something about her attire. The hostess is accused of telling Nwosu to cover up her shoulders, but there were other white women in the restaurant who had exposed shoulders. The teacher said she reached out to the restaurant a few days after the incident but never heard back.
The lawsuit points out several white women on the restaurant’s Instagram page have their shoulders exposed.
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During a press conference held outside of the hotel on Oct. 21, Nwosu said she felt embarrassed.
“Everybody was looking. I feel like I was being made a spectacle, and it was embarrassing,” she said, according to Chron. Her lawyer, Randall Kallinen, said that this is a pattern created by the hotel. “What we see is a pattern of disparate treatment against African-Americans by the Post Oak Hotel,” Kallinen said.
“Jim Crow is still alive, but apparently he’s sneakier, using the dress code—some vague dress code—and saying that an African-American individual violates it.”
The hotel is standing beside their employees for both lawsuits. Steven Chou, the hotel’s general manager, called the first suit “frivolous” and, in a statement, said that Powells should have known better.
“The guest has been a frequent hotel patron and is well aware of our dress code,” the statement read. “When this incident occurred in the HBar last March, the staff politely asked the guest to remove his ball cap, and he chose to leave instead and complain in a frivolous lawsuit filed seven months later demanding $500,000.”
Nwosu’s suit is “nothing more than a frivolous lawsuit filed by an opportunistic lawyer looking for 15 minutes of fame and a pot of gold.”