Black couple from New Jersey say they were racially profiled at a Boston hotel

Marilyn Mathieu and Calvin deGrasse of Maplewood have received an apology from a hotel in Boston that claimed that the couple had smoked in their non-smoking room and left “leaves” behind after they stayed there one recent summer weekend.

The couple also received a refund of the $250 smoking charge and a voucher for a future stay at the Cambria Hotel in downtown Boston.

But Mathieu, 42, and deGrasse, 38, who have two young boys who also stayed at the hotel, said that although she appreciates the apology she won’t be using the voucher.

Mathieu, who was born in Haiti and moved to the United States at age 5, said she believes she and deGrasse, who was born in St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean, were racially profiled, reports NorthJersey.com. “It’s fear of this happening again, fear that they lied and made up a story,” she said during a phone interview. “I just don’t know why I would, it makes common sense to not go back to a business that accused you of wrongdoing and charged your account.”

In a statement, Eric Churchill, vice president of operations for the Cambria Hotel Downtown-South Boston, said the hotel does not tolerate any form of discrimination. He said they sincerely apologized to the Mathieu family for the misunderstanding, but said that the employees who determined the smoking charge did not know the family is Black. “We have confirmed internally that the staff involved in assessing the charge were not aware of the guests’ race, as they did not communicate with the guests in person,” Churchill said in the statement. “However, we will be revisiting the reporting process as we believe there is always room for improvement.”

Mathieu said that the manager who checked the family out of the hotel was the same one she spoke to on the phone who told her why she was being charged a smoking fee. “He said ‘I remember you, but this is what it is, you can fight this with the bank but we will fight it back because we have picture proof,”’ she recalled him saying. “I asked for the proof, and he said he would email it to me later in the day which they never did.”

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