Hawks being sued after alleged mistreatment of black celebrities
The Atlanta Hawks are being sued by a former member of their security staff who claims he noticed a pattern of racial discrimination against African-American celebrities.
TMZ reports that Sam Haynes, a former Hawks security manager who also ran event security at Phillips Area, is suing the team for wrongful termination. Haynes says he was relieved of his duties after he pointed out to his white boss that black celebrities who attended events and performed at Phillips Arena were not given the same VIP treatment as their white counterparts.
More from TMZ:
Sam Hayes says it was obvious from the start of his employment in August 2016 that his white boss was going out of his way to make black stars go through more rigorous security checks than white stars.
On August 26, Drake and Future performed at Philips Arena and had asked to bypass metal detectors on their way inside but their requests were denied.
One week later, AC/DC performed and made the same metal detector bypass request — but theirs was granted.
Hayes says he continued to notice the pattern, claiming celebrities like Adele, Amy Schumer, Bon Jovi and the Ringling Brothers were allowed to bypass security while Kanye West, Tyler Perry, Kat Williams, Migos and others were given the red light. Hayes said the most egregious incident took place when a black security staffer told a white member of the band Radiohead’s crew that he needed to walk through a metal detector, and the man responded by dropping his pants. A white security staffer allegedly intervened and let the man through.
When he informed management of what he had seen, Hayes says he was told, “Hip hop acts draw a different crowd and the white acts bring in more money.” He says he was fired shortly thereafter and told it was because he reprimanded lower level staffers without consulting management first.
The Hawks vehemently denied the allegations, telling TMZ Hayes was “terminated for poor performance and his claims are baseless.”