When rapper Meek Mill showed up at the Cosmopolitan Hotel to support his friend DJ Mustard, he was shocked to be turned away – with no reason given.
He filmed part of the encounter with the white bouncer, who threatened him with trespassing charges.
“Here’s the deal,” the bouncer says, in the video posted to Instagram. “We are private property. At this time, with the information we have, we’re refusing to do business with you. We have the right to do that.”
Mill asks for clarification. He points out that the bouncer is not merely saying the hotel won’t do business with him but is also threatening to have him arrested.
“You’re telling me I’m going to be arrested if I don’t leave,” Mill says. “If I go upstairs and get something to eat, you’re telling me I’m going to be arrested. For what? For being a rapper?”
He left soon afterward and posted the exchange on Instagram, saying the hotel was “going to extreme racist levels to keep [out] too many black entertainers and black people… They said they’re gonna lock me up,” he posted. “Some of these casinos have a bunch of tactics to keep the level of blacks down…. But love to take our money!!!! This happens to a lot of black entertainers, not just me either!! I felt crazy being put out by these white men for no reason!”
Related: Meek Mill through the years
Mill now plans to file a complaint, he told NBC News, given the lack of an apology or any kind of response from the hotel.
Mill’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, sent a letter to the Cosmopolitan’s legal team.
“It has come to our attention that your hotel, through its security personnel, brazenly denied access to Mr. Williams without just cause,” said the letter, obtained by NBC News. “In fact, the incident of exclusion was captured on a recording. And, evidenced thereby, despite inquiring as to the reason for his denied access, Mr. Williams was offered no explanation whatsoever.”
The letter also alleged that the hotel “maintains a list of African American recording artists who should be denied access for no other reason than their culture and skin color.”
The Daily News reached out to try and learn why they turned the rapper away, but the hotel did not reply. The Cosmopolitan did answer NBC News.
“As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on legal matters,” the Cosmopolitan said in a statement. “Our guests’ safety and security always remains our top priority.”
Mill, whose given name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, has legal troubles going back more than a decade, as Vox, Rolling Stone and other outlets have reported. But the main players in proceedings against him – the cop who first arrested him on drug and gun charges, and the judge who has dogged him on technicalities ever since his first conviction – have been implicated in corruption and conflicts of interest issues, respectively.
Last week the top prosecutor in Philadelphia, which is where Mill is from and where his legal battle originated, ruled that he deserved a new trial, with a new judge, alleging bias by the judge who originally sentenced him, Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley.
In addition, now-retired Philadelphia Police Officer Reginald Graham, who first arrested Mill in 2007, has been “investigated by federal authorities for several alleged acts of corruption,” according to a March 2018 report in The Philadelphia Inquirer, which notes that his testimony “was central to the arrest of Meek Mill.”
Mill’s efforts to use his experience, visibility and platform to change justice system practices that keep black men incarcerated out of proportion to their crimes gave birth to the Reform Alliance in January.
He started it in conjunction with fellow rapper Jay-Z and the owners of a host of professional sports teams to draw attention to the high rate of not only over-the-top incarceration but also post-prison monitoring.
“I’ve been on probation since the age of 18,” Mill told CBS News. “I’m 31 years old.”