Racial epithet on motel screen welcomes Music Festival guest
Joseph Ross of Dayton said he was stunned when he checked into Room 233 he had reserved at Motel 6 at 3850 Hauck Road in Sharonville the afternoon of July 27 prior to attending Macy’s Music Festival in Downtown Cincinnati. He turned on the TV and saw “Hello N……” superimposed on the motel’s guide channel.
“I turned the TV on and glanced at the screen. I did not like it one bit what I saw on the motel’s channel,’’ said Ross, 60, who is Black. “I reacted with a few choice words. Then I rubbed my eyes and looked again at the TV screen. I could not believe what I saw.’’
Ross then asked a housekeeper in the hall, who is also Black, to take a look at the screen, and he said her reaction was similar. The woman told Ross to get the manager, which he did. The manager told Ross to call the company’s Customer Relations Department, he said. The 800 number call resulted in little reaction. Ross said. “The person I talked to did not seem too concerned about it and said he would contact me within 30 days.’’
Ross took images on his cell phone of the TV screen and texted them to Foward, who said he wanted to see the racial epithet himself. Foward arrived with an investigator Chris Cortner and soon called local television stations to report the situation. One station was able to do an in-room interview, but a second station that arrived was soon told to leave the premises.
Sharonville police officer James Nesbit II arrived Sunday afternoon as Ross was checking out of his room. Ross had been moved to a different room by the management, and the racial epithet did not appear on the TV screen in that room, he said.
“I wanted to see what happened when Joe changed channels,’’ Foward said. “Joe did that, and it (racist words) went away. However, when Joe turned back to the Motel 6 programming, it came back.’’
Meanwhile, the motel manager, who was on the phone with her supervisor, told Ross he would have to leave. “I questioned why a person who saw what he saw on TV and reported it would have to leave. I told her she would not want me to go on TV and talk about that.’’ Then the manager moved Ross to another room, he said.
Foward said he called customer relations, and he was told someone would get back with Ross in 30 days. Foward replied that the company’s president needs to call Ross and the Dayton NAACP office Monday. Neither has received a call from Motel 6 officials, he said.
“It’s an unfortunate situation whether an employee did it or someone else did it,’’ Foward said. “At end of day, it’s their property, and they are accountable for it.’’
Foward, who also serves as third vice president of the Ohio NAACP, said he plans to wait for the Sharonville Police Department and Motel 6 officials to conclude their investigation before determining a plan of action in regard to the incident.
Cincinnati NAACP President Christopher Smitherman said he was contacted by Foward Saturday to inform him about the incident. “The Motel 6 owner owes the entire Cincinnati region an apology and termination of all employees who may have been involved in this act. This behavior is despicable and un- American," Smitherman said.
Smitherman called Motel 6 officials in Sharonville to confirm if the report was true, and the person who answered the phone confirmed the information was true, but provided no explanation as to why this occurred, he said.
“The Cincinnati NAACP will be supportive to the Dayton branch to bring an amicable resolution," Smitherman said.
Sharonville Detective Hondorf said he has not concluded his investigation of the incident.