Breaking News Emails
Rapper Meek Mill on Saturday accused the Cosmopolitan Hotel of being racist for denying him entry to the Las Vegas property and threatening to have him arrested for trespassing.
A video of his exchange with security personnel at the hotel posted on his Instagram account had more than a million views as of Sunday morning.
In it, the musician, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, is seated in a vehicle outside the hotel and can be heard asking two men, "How can you tell me I'll be locked up for trespassing?"
One of the men responded, "We're a private property. At this time, with the information we have, we're refusing to do business with you. We have the right to do that."
Meek continued to question him, "You're telling me I'll be arrested if I don't leave. If I walk upstairs to get something to eat, I'm going to be arrested? For what? For being a rapper?"
The man then said the hotel has "officially trespassed you."
Mill asked again, "For what though? But what did you trespass me for?"
The man repeated, "We have a right to do that."
Mill's publicist told NBC News he was at the hotel to support DJ Mustard, who has a residency at Marquee Nightclub, and that he never got out of the car or entered the hotel.
Mill said the Cosmopolitan Hotel and others in Las Vegas employ these tactics against black entertainers, specifically, telling them they are banned "without incident," "because they don’t want too many blacks" on their properties.
"This happens to a lot of black entertainers not just me either," Miill said on Instagram. "I felt crazy being put out by these white men for no reason!"
The Cosmopolitan Hotel said in a statement, "As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on legal matters. Our guests' safety and security always remains our top priority."
Mill’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, provided NBC a copy of a letter he sent Saturday to Anthony Pearl, general counsel and chief compliance officer for the Cosmopolitan Hotel, in which he accuses the hotel of discrimination.
"It has come to our attention that your hotel, through its security personnel, brazenly denied access to Mr. Williams without just cause," the letter said. "In fact, the incident of exclusion was captured on a recording. And, evidenced thereby, despite inquiring as to the reason for his denied access, Mr. Williams was offered no explanation whatsoever."
Tacopina also said that "the Cosmopolitan maintains a list of African American recording artists who should be denied access for no other reason than their culture and skin color," which, he said, constitutes discrimination and exposes the hotel to "significant monetary damages."
Tacopina threatened legal action unless the Cosmopolitan Hotel "promptly" apologized and granted Mill access. On Sunday, Tacopina told NBC News the time for that apology "has expired" and he plans to file a complaint within the next week or so.