‘This Is White America Time’: Black Employees At Trump Hotel Restaurant Allege Racial Discrimination

Photo Credit: Ted Eytan

BLT Prime, the restaurant inside the Washington, D.C. Trump Tower, is being sued for racial discrimination by three black employees.

In a report from the Washington Post, former Trump Tower employees Dominique Hill and Irving Smith Jr., as well as current employee JaNette Sturdivant, allege that the hotel’s managing director, Mickael Damelincourt, discriminated against them because they are black. They also claim that other employees made offensive comments to them and that hotel and restaurant management did nothing to settle the matter.

“Some days I would just stand there all day long and have no customers,” Hill said. “They started hiring all these people and instead of putting them on day shifts they were giving them night shifts and keeping us on day shift. Next thing I know, within the month all the black people were on the day shift.”

The Trump Organization, which leases out the restaurant in the Trump Hotel, has dismissed the group’s claims, with Amanda Miller, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, issuing the following statement: “The plaintiffs worked for a third-party restaurant company that is solely responsible for the direction, supervision, and management of its own employees. In short, this lawsuit appears to be nothing more than a desperate, politically-motivated publicity stunt. We look forward to litigating this matter.”

ESquared Hospitality, the company that operates the restaurant, also denied the employees’ claims, stating that they did not “previously voice or file complaints through any of the proper channels.”

However, Smith disagreed with their response, recounting how a coworker told him “This is white America time. You need to get used to it, and if you don’t get used to it you should go work somewhere else,” and neither hotel or restaurant management did nothing about it.


Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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Elijah C. Watson

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