AceShowbiz - Tyrese Gibson is suing Home Depot following an alleged racial profiling incident at a Los Angeles-area store earlier this year. The actor filed a complaint in L.A. Superior Court on Wednesday, August 9.
In the complaint, the 44-year-old sues the home improvement company for civil rights violations. The suit also alleges negligent hiring, supervision and retention. Tyrese and two other plaintiffs, Eric Mora and Manuel Hernandez, seek more than $1 million in compensatory damages, to reflect the amount Tyrese says he's spent at Home Depot locations over his lifetime, in addition to punitive damages.
The suit states that Tyrese, "one of the most recognizable black actors and musicians in the United States, and his associates ... experienced outrageous discriminatory mistreatment and consumer racial profiling first-hand inside the Home Depot retail store in West Hills." It further stresses, "The company needs to understand that there are consequences for discriminatory mistreatment and consumer racial profiling."
In the suit, Tyrese details the incident which took place in February of this year. He and his two associates who "regularly provide construction services" to him visited the company's West Hills location on February 11. When fans began to notice the "Fast & Furious" star's presence in the store, he decided to wait in his vehicle and let the other two men complete their transaction with his credit card.
However, the cashier allegedly refused to let Eric and Manuel use his credit card to complete their purchase even after Tyrese returned to the store. "The cashier gave no reasonable explanation other than repeating 'store policy' and demanded to see a form of identification," the suit alleges, "The manager refused to speak with Gibson in person. It was only after significant heated discussion with the cashier that Gibson was finally able to complete the transaction."
"The actions of the cashier and manager were discriminatory based on race and origin," the complaint adds. "There is no other plausible explanation for the mistreatment of Plaintiffs. The transaction was refused, despite Gibson's repeated authorizations, because of Plaintiffs' skin color and, in the case of Mora and Hernandez, also because of their national origin."
Tyrese recorded part of the encounter in a video uploaded to YouTube in February. In the 10-minute clip, he told the cashier, "I understand policy, but you know you're being extra right now." He also said that he has been visiting the same Home Depot retail location for 10 years, but that was the first time an employee spoke about such policy.
In response to the lawsuit, a Home Depot spokesperson said in a statement, "Diversity and respect for all people are core to who we are, and we do not tolerate discrimination in any form. We value Mr. Gibson as a customer, and in the months since this happened, we've reached out to him and his attorneys several times to try to resolve his concerns. We will continue to do so."