Former Atlanta Hawks security manager Sam Hayes reportedly is suing the team for wrongful termination after bringing to light alleged racist practices at Philips Arena.
According to TMZ, Hayes saw a problem with the way black performers and celebrities were treated upon entering the arena compared to their white counterparts. He says he was fired after making management aware of the problem.
Performers such as Kanye West, Migos, Tyler Perry and Drake reportedly were forced to go through metal detectors despite requests to avoid them. Meanwhile, Bon Jovi, Adele, Ariana Grande and others reportedly made the same request and were allowed to bypass the security, per TMZ.
According to Hayes, who worked event security at the arena since August 2016, he brought the issue to management, who responded by saying, “Hip hop acts draw a different crowd and the white acts bring in more money.”
The Hawks vehemently denied the allegations and believe the employee was fired for legitimate reasons.
“[Samuel Hayes] was terminated for poor performance and his claims are baseless,” a team spokesman told TMZ. “We will defend vigorously.”
Philips Arena is set to undergo a massive renovation that will close the venue during the summer, but it will open again in October for the start of the 2017-18 season. Concerts and comedy events will resume in November.
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