[UPDATE BELOW] Three women say a security guard at The Standard High Line accused them of soliciting prostitution at the hotel because they're black, and that the hotel maladroitly tried to smooth things over by offering a bottle of champagne and a $400 dinner for four.
Kantaki Washington, Cydney Madlock and J. Lyn Thomas tell AlterNet that after coming down from the hotel's rooftop club Le Bain on August 28th they were approached in the lobby by several men who offered to buy them drinks. Later, when they were seated in the hotel's restaurant, a black man approached their table and introduced himself. During their conversation, they say a hotel security guard approached and whispered something in the man's ear, shooing him away.
"After the security guard ushers the brotha 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?'"
Washington is a lawyer and her two friends are teachers. Outraged at the security guard's insinuation, they informed a hotel manager, who allegedly told them that the hotel's security is outsourced and the guard was "not technically a staff member."
Weeks later, they say a hotel representative emailed them, offering a vague apology "for what happened to you here that evening. We are extending this table for 4 as a gesture of goodwill for you and your friends, plus one more person. Please let me know when you would like 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."
It seems this offer just added insult to injury (and let's face it, $400 isn't going to get a four-top very far at The Standard Grill). Madlock, who teaches at a charter school in Brooklyn, tells AlterNet, "We should have some formal apology. And the $400 dinner, we all have careers. That's nothing. We can afford that ourselves. If I want champagne...what is that? I felt like [the security guard] was talking to me like a dog in the street."
A Standard rep did not immediately respond to our inquiry, but a hotel spokesperson issued this statement to Daily Intel: "Both the misinformation and comments made were provided by third parties, not employed by The Standard. The Standard has zero tolerance for any type of discrimination at any of our properties and profusely regrets the situation."
Update 6:23 p.m.: In a new statement, the Standard says: "All of us at the Standard are deeply sorry for the mistreatment suffered by Ms. Washington, Ms. Madlock and Ms. Thomas. We have informed the security company that the person who made these comments is no longer welcome to work at our establishment, and we have launched a full internal review of the Standard's policies and procedures — as well as those of our third-party vendors — to ensure this situation never occurs again."