Hotel refuses American’s first black billionare to check in

The urgly face of racism is still haunting blacks in USA. This is the story how American’s first official black billionaire Bob Johnson failed to enter into a hotel. He is the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET). He is said to be a prime example of what some in this country call “proof” that racism isn’t a real issue anymore.

According to reports, on August 24 of this year,  Johnson could have had all of the money in the world, but to the check-in attendant at Eau Palm Beach, a five-star luxury hotel, he was just some black guy with expensive prescription sunglasses. After giving his car to the valet and his bags to hotel staff, he was asked for identification for his two-night reservation.

According to Johnson, he gave them three forms of ID: an American Express card, a Florida driver’s license, and his government-issued passport. But that wasn’t enough for the hotel employee, who said he needed to take off his sunglasses. She told Johnson she couldn’t and wouldn’t check him in unless he did.

Johnson says that, when traveling internationally, it is customary to have to take ones sunglasses off, but not domestically, and not when the identification you are providing is both federal and in-state. He told the lady that she should call the police. The police came, but were unable to broker a “compromise,” and Johnson left.

Incidentally, Bob Johnson owns a hotel investment company, RLJ Lodging Trust. In fact, it’s the country’s largest hotel investment company, after a merger last year.


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