Meek Mill says racism, not crowd size, is why he was denied entry to Las Vegas hotel

The Cosmopolitan Hotel said Tuesday that the incident "related to a matter of security, not race, and any reports citing otherwise are false."
Image: Meek Mill
Meek Mill attends the REFORM alliance in Philadelphia at Philadelphia Municipal Services Building on April 2, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Shareif Ziyadat / Getty Images file

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By Janelle Griffith

Rapper Meek Mill refuted Cosmopolitan Hotel's claim that he was denied entry to the Las Vegas property Saturday because a party he was there for was at capacity.

Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, said Tuesday that the justification contradicts what he was told Saturday by security personnel and "doesn't even make sense." He maintains he was discriminated against.

The hotel told NBC News in a statement Tuesday that the incident "related to a matter of security, not race, and any reports citing otherwise are false."

"We pride ourselves on providing an inclusive environment, with zero tolerance for discrimination," the hotel said. "Under different circumstances, Meek Mill would be welcomed to the resort, but not at the compromise of his personal safety and the safety of our guests."

Mill was at the hotel to support DJ Mustard, who has a residency at Marquee Nightclub where he was hosting a party.

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According to the hotel, the party had reached capacity as dictated by city fire marshals and prior to Mill's arrival, police had been called onsite to manage a larger than usual venue crowd.

When it was contacted in advance of Mill's arrival, security staff clarified that he would not be granted access because of capacity issues, "in accordance with both club and resort policy," the hotel said, adding that this was reiterated to Mill when he arrived.

"Meek Mill refused to depart property and was then informed that any continued attempt would result in trespassing," the hotel said.

Mill said in separate tweets Tuesday that he was told he would be arrested "just for stepping on their property," even if he went to eat at a restaurant and not to attend the pool party.

In a now-viral video of his exchange with security personnel that was posted to his Instagram account over the weekend, Mill is shown seated in a vehicle outside the hotel and can be heard asking two men why he was being denied entry. The video has been viewed more than half a million times. Mill never got out of the car or entered the hotel.

In the video, he is told multiple times that he would be arrested for trespassing if he tried to enter the property. No mention was made of capacity issues.

Mill's attorney, Joseph Tacopina, told NBC News on Tuesday that the hotel's conduct "continues to be deplorable."

“The assertion that the Cosmopolitan denied Meek because of capacity concerns at Marquee Dayclub is outright false," Tacopina said. "In the recorded video, Meek also inquired about getting a meal at one of the hotel’s restaurants, yet their security team continued to deny Meek and said he would be arrested for trespassing regardless of location in the hotel premises."

Tacopina said Sunday 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. Tacopina identified Yo Gotti and BlocBoy JB among other rappers on that alleged list. Yo Gotti, born Mario Mims, said Tuesday that he has "experienced similar discrimination at the Cosmopolitan and other Vegas hotels."

"It’s a disgrace that these establishments continue to judge us by the color of our skin and our professions instead of recognizing our artistry and dedication to our communities," Yo Gotti told NBC News.

Tacopina said he plans to file a complaint in the near future.