Three women -- a lawyer and two teachers -- say they were wrongfully accused of soliciting prostitution at New York City’s Standard Hotel several weeks ago, AlterNet reports. Kantaki Washington, Cydney Madlock and J Lyn Thomas said they were in a restaurant in the hotel’s lobby on the morning of Aug. 28 when an African-American man approached them and asked to buy them drinks. Moments later a security guard came, whispered something into the man’s ear and asked him to leave the area.
"After the security guard ushers the brother away, he comes over to me and my friends and says, 'Come on, ladies. You can buy a drink but you can't be soliciting,'" Washington told AlterNet. "We were like, 'Soliciting?' He said, 'Don't act stupid with me, ladies. You know what you're doing. Stop soliciting in here.' We were like, 'Soliciting what?'"
The three women -- all of whom are black -- say they believe they were targets of racial profiling. They were the only black people in the hotel lobby at the time, Washington said. The women asked for the security guard’s name to file a complaint with the hotel. The guard gave them his first name and directed the women to speak with a member of the front desk staff. Washington said they spoke with one of the hotel’s managers who said the security guard was outsourced and was not technically an employee of the hotel.
Several weeks later, Washington received an email from the hotel offering her and "three guests [to come] back to The Standard for a bottle of champagne in The Top of the Standard or Le Bain, followed by dinner for 4 [valued at $400] at the Standard Grill.” There was no mention of the prostitution accusation.
News of the alleged incident comes after the highly publicized allegations made by actress Daniele Watts during the weekend. The “Django Unchained” star was detained by Los Angeles police after she was accused of indecent exposure in Studio City, California. The actress says she was handcuffed after she refused to give the officer a copy of her identification. The officer was responding to a 911 call that described an incident of indecent exposure involving a man and woman inside a silver Mercedes with its door open, the Associated Press reported.
Watts argued she was doing nothing wrong. Her boyfriend, celebrity chef Brian Lucas, told CNN he believes the incident may have been race-related. Newly released audio shows how the incident escalated after Watts refused to give the officer her ID.
"We're not doing anything. I'm on the phone with my dad, this is my boyfriend, this is a public place," Watts is heard saying in the tape. "You know how many times the cops have been called just for being black? I'm just being really honest."
"Who brought up the race card?" the officer replied. "I said nothing about you being black. I have every right to ask for your ID."
In a separate incident, African-American filmmaker and producer Charles Belk was wrongfully arrested by the Beverly Hills Police Department after officers mistakenly identified him as a man involved in a nearby bank robbery, the Los Angeles Times reported. The police department later apologized for the Aug. 22 incident but said Belk was not arrested because of his race, but from the “the totality of the circumstances known at the time of the field investigation.”
Washington, Madlock and Thompson are still shocked by their treatment at the Standard Hotel. "It's beyond what I can imagine could happen in 2014. Three black women [at the Standard] and the only reason why we could be there is because we're soliciting for sex? That's ridiculous,” Thomas told Alternet. “It was very dehumanizing and very degrading. He did it in front of the entire restaurant and they were watching the whole scene. It was humiliating."