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Published: Sun, July 09, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Fired security manager says Phillips Arena discriminated against

Fired security manager says Phillips Arena discriminated against

The most recent broiling cauldron that the Atlanta Hawks find themselves in involves former Security Operations Manager Samuel Hayes, whose lawsuit claims that the security protocol rolled out for black entertainers visiting Philips Arena were different than those set forth for entertainers of other races.

A spokesperson for the Hawks told TMZ that Hayes "was terminated for poor performance and his claims are baseless".

Drake, Kanye West, Migos and Tyler Perry got put through the ringer before being allowed to perform at Philips Arena in ATL. while Amy Schumer and Bon Jovi got the VIP treatment.

"We will defend vigorously", the statement says.

"On Aug. 26, 2016, Drake and Future (both of whom are black) performed at Philips Arena".

The lawsuit alleges that when rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs performed at Philips Arena on September 8, 2016, his request to bypass security was denied.

Meanwhile, Hayes claims the same exceptions were granted for Caucasian entertainers, including Axel Rose, Brian Wilson (of AC/DC), Amy Schumer, Adele, Bon Jovi, production and staff from the Ringling Bros., rock group Radiohead, Ariana Grande, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Hayes was sacked, a decision he said in court documents "was based on race, including racial stereotypes, myths, assumptions, and preconceived notions of blacks (especially black men) as "angry" and 'aggressive'". Hawks officials, the suit said, "demanded "extra tight security" at black shows, and denied black entertainers the same security privileges they granted to white entertainers...it was obvious that race (not safety) determined which entertainers and celebrities were permitted to bypass security protocol, and which entertainers and celebrities were not". In the same conversation, Parker warned Hayes that "people perceive him as "aggressive" because he is "a large black man with an intimidating voice and commanding presence, ' and advised Plaintiff to 'watch tone" when conversing with others", Hayes alleges.

TMZ.com reports that the issue turned into a full-blown lawsuit after a black security officer told Radiohead's crew they were required to walk through metal detectors. "Their requests were denied and heightened security measures were enforced at that event".

The lawsuit also names another defendant, a current employee of the Hawks, and states that Hayes was sacked because of his race.

When rappers 2 Chainz, Jeezy and The Dream performed at the arena in December 2016, their requests to bypass the metal detectors were denied, but later several white WWE performers were granted special privileges.

In response, Parker stated that "hip hop acts draw a different crowd, and the white acts bring in more money", according to the lawsuit. Parker told Hayes that the termination was due to Hayes suspending and firing employees without talking to Human Resources first. It appears as if Mr. Parker at least had the power to do what Hayes alleges he did. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

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