Actor Tyrese Gibson is suing US department store Home Depot for $1 million [approx. $1.5 million] after an alleged incident with an employee.
According to the lawsuit, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the Fast & Furious star alleges that he and his two craftsmen Eric Mora and Manuel Hernandez “experienced outrageous discriminatory mistreatment and consumer racial profiling first-hand”.
The lawsuit claims the alleged incident took place on February 11 when an employee at a Home Depot store in Los Angeles allegedly “purposely interfered with and refused to process” a transaction by Gibson, Mora and Hernandez based on “their skin colour” and the craftsmen’s “national origin.”
Gibson is black, while both Mora and Hernandez are of Mexican descent.
In Gibson’s claim, the actor alleges that the trio were purchasing items for a home improvement project at the time.
While being served, Gibson claims there was a reported “glitch in the system” causing the cashier to have to rescan the items. The delay resulted in Gibson garnering attention from fellow customers who began to recognise the star.
In an attempt to minimalise disturbance, the star recalls leaving his credit card with Mora and Hernandez and informing the employee that the duo would complete the purchase.
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“The cashier acknowledged Gibson and said he understood,” the lawsuit says. “Gibson asked the cashier if the cashier needed anything further from him to complete the transaction. The cashier said no, and that Gibson could leave.”
But, per the suit, the cashier went back on their word after the 44-year-old left the store, and instead “refused to complete the transaction” with Mora and Hernandez, despite Gibson authorising the transaction in store and via FaceTime video calls.
The star then returned to the store, completed the transaction, had a “heated discussion with the cashier” and asked to speak with the store’s manager, who allegedly “refused to speak with Gibson in person.”
The lawsuit labelled the conduct as “discriminatory mistreatment and consumer racial profiling” and stated the the treatment of the trio was “humiliating and demeaning.”
The lawsuit goes on to claim that the actor, Mora and Hernandez were “harmed” due to the incompetence of the staff.
A representative for Home Depot told The Times 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 several times to try to resolve his concerns,” the statement continued. “We will continue to do so.”
The actor made his suit public knowledge last week, taking to his Instagram account to share the news with fans.
Gibson posted a clip of himself confronting a supervisor at the store and enquiring about their store policy.
“Craftsmen Eric Mora and Manuel Hernandez are an integral part of my team and have made significant contributions to my visions for over a decade,” the star wrote in the caption.
“Together, we ardently uphold our commitments to civil rights, promoting empathy and understanding. Standing united against … The Home Depot, we envision a world free from discriminatory practices and consumer racial profiling.”
He added, “Just as I have done for the past 20-plus years, I pledge to continue to utilize my platform to empower the voiceless, fostering a spirit of unity and hope, while illuminating our shared path forward.”
Gibson also claims that there is a “joint class lawsuit [in which] they are seeking $450 million in damages.”