Fast And Furious star Tyrese Gibson is suing US hardware store The Home Depot for over $1m (£790,000) after allegedly being racially profiled.
The actor, who has appeared in seven of the blockbuster movies, claimed that he and two associates were subjected to “outrageous discriminatory mistreatment” during an incident in February.
A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles earlier this week detailed the incident that allegedly occurred in The Home Depot store in West Hills, Los Angeles County.
According to Variety, the alleged incident involved Gibson and Eric Mora and Manuel Hernandez being held up due to a “purported glitch in the system.”
The trio’s complaint claims that it prevented them from checking out for around 20 minutes before a crowd started to form around the checkout.
Gibson is said to have decided to leave the store and wait in his car while Mora and Hernandez waited to complete the transaction.
The suit alleges that once Gibson made the cashier aware of his plan, and permitted his associates to use his credit card, the Home Depot employee “acknowledged Gibson and said he understood”.
But the cashier allegedly continued to deny the transaction, even after Gibson tried sharing his consent over FaceTime and later in person.
The complaint allegedly stated: “The cashier gave no reasonable explanation other than repeating ‘store policy’ and demanded to see a form of identification. The manager refused to speak with Gibson in person. It was only after significant heated discussion with the cashier that Gibson was finally able to complete the transaction.”
It continued: “The actions of the cashier and manager were discriminatory based on race and origin. There is no other plausible explanation for the mistreatment of Plaintiffs. The transaction was refused, despite Gibson’s repeated authorisations, because of Plaintiffs’ skin colour and, in the case of Mora and Hernandez, also because of their national origin.
“This is a clear and deplorable instance of discriminatory mistreatment and consumer racial profiling. The treatment of Gibson, Mora and Hernandez by The Home Depot was humiliating and demeaning.”
Gibson also shared a clip of his interaction with staff at the store on his Instagram.
He is seeking $1m in damages – the total Gibson claims he has spent over the years at Home Depot – in addition to statutory damages, attorney’s fees, punitive damages, a declaratory judgment declaring that Home Depot’s actions violated California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, and “such other relief as the Court may deem just and proper”.
In response a Home Depot spokesperson told Variety: “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 and his attorneys several times to try to resolve his concerns. We will continue to do so.”