Comedian Mark Curry accused a Colorado hotel staffer of racially profiling him as he sat in the lobby, an incident that prompted outrage from celebrities and a promise from the establishment to refund him after the actor posted video of the alleged encounter on Instagram.
Curry, who starred in ABC's “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” from 1992 to 1997, was staying at The Mining Exchange in Colorado Springs. He was in the city for performances at 3E's Comedy Club on Friday and Saturday, he said on Instagram.
Curry was drinking coffee when he said the employee asked him if he was a guest. He also informed him the lobby was private, the comedian said, according to the video.
“All right. So the problem is I’m in a hotel lobby and this man wants to see, I don’t know,” Curry said at the start of a 26-minute video he shared with his 221,000 Instagram followers.
“I’m just asking if you’re a guest,” the staffer replied, a question he repeated multiple times in the video.
NBC News does not know what happened before Curry started recording.
In the video, Curry asked why he was being singled out and to see the employee’s identification card.
“If you’re Black and you’re in Colorado Springs, you can’t be in the lobby,” he said. “Wow! This is crazy, isn’t it?”
The employee denied the allegation, saying in the video that his question had nothing to do with race.
Curry asked him later in the video why he was not questioning white guests in the lobby. The employee said they paid for drinks.
“Then you’re a patron of the hotel, which I asked you several times,” he told Curry.
Video showed the employee standing in front of Curry with his hands folded in front of him. A second staffer was next to him.
“So how long are you going to stay here, buddy?” Curry asked.
“Just when you answer my question, sir,” the employee said.
A short time later, Curry replied: “And I told you, of course, I’m at the hotel. Yes.”
He later asked the employee to back up.
“I feel threatened from you, your stance and the way you’re looking at me, I feel threatened,” Curry said.
The employee did not back away from Curry, who got up and said: “Let’s see if they follow me. Let’s go.”
Curry had his camera pointed toward him.
“Get that out of my face, get it out of my face,” the employee said.
Curry went to the front desk to complain and was told by the receptionist that the employee was an engineer at the hotel.
“Do you have a room number of any sort? Can I have a last name? They just want to know if you’re a guest. That’s all,” the receptionist said.
When Curry asked why, the receptionist said, “just for safety.”
Curry got on an elevator and returned to his room.
“I got on this bulls--- place and these motherf----- want to harass me like this,” he said. “When is it going to stop?”
In a statement, hotel officials said they “deeply regret this incident” and will “revisit training” with their staff.
“We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive space for all guests and employees,” the statement read. “We deeply regret this incident and have reached out to Mr. Curry to offer not only our sincere apologies but a full refund of his stay and an invitation to return, at no cost, anytime in the future. As a respected community partner, we are also using this opportunity to revisit training with our staff, helping to ensure all interactions are reflective of our company values.”
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts issued a similar statement. The Mining Exchange is a Wyndham hotel.
“The hotel’s owner and management team are working to make this right,” the company wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Neither statement specified if the exchange between staff and Curry was normal protocol. The Mining Exchange and Wyndham also did not disclose the identities of the staffers, their roles or possible disciplinary action against them. They also did not respond to subsequent questions about the hotel’s protocol and the status of the employees in the video.
A representative for Curry said the comedian had not heard from the hotel as of Monday evening.
Curry’s “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” co-star, Holly Robinson Peete, reposted the actor’s video to Twitter and came to his defense.
“There was no reason for Mark to be singled out except for the fact that he’s a black man,” she wrote. “Since when do you have to identify yourself sitting in the lobby drinking coffee.”
Raven-Symoné, who also starred in the sitcom, shared her thoughts under Curry’s Instagram post.
“Shameful! Absolutely disgusting! Love you mark! No one deserves this!” she wrote.