A lawsuit agains the Atlanta Hawks claims Black artists were discriminated against at the arena.
TMZ reports that a former Atlanta Hawks security manager is suing the team after he says he was wrongfully fired for pointing out the discriminatory practice. He says Black celebrities were made to go through rigorous security checks at Philips Arena, which is staffed and operated by the Hawks, while White artists were allowed to bypass metal detectors.
Sam Hayes, the security manager at the center of the lawsuit, claims his White boss was going out of his way to make sure Black celebrities were rigorously checked. He claims both Drake and Future requested to bypass metal detectors, but were denied. Rock band AC/DC, however, had their request granted.
The pattern shows up with other celebrities too. Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Tyler Perry, Migos, Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, and more were denied bypass requests, but stars like Adele, Amy Schumer, Bon Jovi, Ariana Grande, the WWE Live Tour, and the Ringling Brothers were granted requests to skip metal detectors.
Hayes said things reached a breaking point when a Black security officer requested that crew members of the band Radiohead go through the metal detectors with one member responding by dropping his pants. A White staffer intervened and allowed the crew to pass.
When Hayes brought up the discriminatory practice to management, they allegedly said, “Hip-hop acts draw a different crowd and the White acts bring in more money.”
A spokesperson for the Hawks told TMZ, “[Samuel Hayes] was terminated for poor performance and his claims are baseless. We will defend vigorously.”
Hayes is demanding unspecified damages.