As Daily Kos has covered, while there are many instances of people acting in solidarity and bravery during the pandemic, there have also been examples of racism, discrimination, and downright cruelty. As my colleague Aysha Qamar has covered, anti-Asian hate crimes have swept the nation during the COVID-19 crisis; which, of course, we can’t think about without remembering the racist rhetoric spewed by Donald Trump and his lackeys. Whether the violence is physical, verbal, structural, or all of those things, it’s never excusable and something all allies should be concerned about.
As reported by The Citizen, Benito Dingle, a Filipino man who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, alleges that the general manager of the Days Inn hotel in Auburn, New York, not only used racist language related to COVID-19 but refused to rent him a room. Dingle’s sister was also at the inn and told the paper a staff member of the hotel threw his keys at her, asked if she wanted to buy the hotel, and brought up COVID-19 as well as the government. And according to the family, that’s not all.
While trying to check in, Dingle was told the hotel had no clean rooms and that he had to leave, in spite of having a reservation for three nights since booking it in June. On top of everything else, Dingle’s sister, who asked to remain anonymous, told the outlet a white couple was immediately offered a room—and didn’t even have a reservation.
As some background, Dingle told the outlet he originally reserved a room for three nights at the hotel using Priceline. The hotel reservation was to begin on July 28. He was visiting Auburn for a family reunion. In addition to telling him to leave, the staff member at the desk allegedly told Dingle that “Expedia is China.”
The Citizen reports it reached an employee at the hotel in an attempt to figure out who was at the desk at that time. The employee told the outlet that Dev Patel, general manager of the hotel, was working the front desk on July 28, the first day of Dingle’s reservation. The outlet contacted Patel on Aug. 4 for a phone call, in which he said he didn’t “want to talk about that” when asked if he refused anyone a room that day.
Dingle’s sister told the outlet she’s been in the United States for more than three decades and has never been treated that way. "It's so obvious he discriminated against us,” she added.
In the end, Dingle ended up having to stay with his sister because other hotels were already booked. He told the outlet he contacted Priceline for a refund. Mariah Brooks, Dingle’s niece, shared a video about the incident on Facebook, describing the situation as “ridiculous” and “disgusting.” In the video, Brooks says her uncle’s wife (who was not present at the hotel) called the hotel and asked to make a reservation at the hotel and was told by the same staff member that she could.
Brooks told the outlet her family is considering its options when it comes to potentially taking action against the hotel.