A Black customer plans to file a lawsuit against a Starbucks in Brandon, Fla. after claiming an employee racially profiled him last month.
According to Fox 13 News, Lorne Green, said he was harassed once he entered into the coffee shop to use the restroom before he made a purchase. He was issued a trespassing ticket by Hillsborough officials as well.
“Almost as soon as he entered the door, he heard somebody say, ‘There’s a big black guy headed to the restroom’,” Jasmine Rand, his attorney said. “A few minutes later, this incessant knocking starts, knocking on the door, over and over again, ‘Do you need Fire Rescue? Do you need Fire Rescue?'”
Based off what he heard while in the restroom, Green decided to call the company’s corporate number to inform them about the incident, since he believed the staff was trying to influence him to walk out of the restroom. The exchange was recorded by Starbucks and Green.
The recording details the representative asking, “So you feel like this is racially motivated, correct?”
Green responded, “It is very because I walked in and she immediately — in not even five minutes — she goes, ‘a Black male went inside,’ and called the police on me before I even got in the bathroom.”
Green said he reportedly heard some referencing him as “the big Black guy” twice.
He decided to leave the restroom and store, but an employee had already contacted officials, who indeed up giving him a trespassing ticket upon the store’s request.
“It’s being humiliating and defaming me and belittling me,” Green said on Wednesday. “I just feel awful and I tried to make the best out of something that was truly escalating out of control.”
He plans to file a lawsuit from the incident, although the specifics regarding the suit are not certain. For now, he is requesting that the employee be fired and his ticket be “dropped.”
“We always strive to create a warm environment where everyone feels welcome,” a Starbucks spokesperson told the outlet in response to the incident. “We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind and take this type of accusation very seriously. We are conducting an investigation to understand what happened and will take appropriate action.”