A local venue owner says that last night a manager at the San Francisco Travelodge on Market Street refused to accept the credit cards of three members of the Meters Experience -- because they were black.
Jason Perkins, who operates the New Parish in Oakland and S.F.'s Brick and Mortar Music Hall, says the manager of the hotel at 1707 Market insisted that original Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli leave a cash deposit, saying "he doesn't take black people's credit cards anymore."
"Your manager refused to accept a credit card from a famous artist, Leo Nocentelli of the Meters, saying your policy is not to accept credit cards from black people," Perkins wrote in an e-mail to a Travelodge manager that was cc'd to SF Weekly. "This person is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and you treated him so terribly I am still shaking."
Here's what Perkins told his friend, David Pescovitz, who's an editor and partner at BoingBoing:
I bought 4 rooms for the band and prepaid for them on debit card. After sound check, Leo and the band went to the hotel and tried to check in. The manager refused to accept 3 of 4 members credit cards for incidentals (4th member is Rich Vogel/white dude). Leo called me and (my family and I) drove to the hotel at 7:30 pm. I asked what the hell and manager pointed at 3 members and said he wouldn't accept credit cards and "those people" need to pay cash deposit. When I asked what did he mean by "those people" -- he pointed at Leo and said "black people."
I felt like I was hit in the face. It was stunning. I called the police and when they arrived, the police went through it with him and then he caught himself and said that they cannot check in any longer as he didn't feel "safe." He then refused to talk.
Our calls to the hotel and to Wyndham Hotel Group, Travelodge's parent company, have not been returned. However, the Examiner got through to one local representative:
[A] Travelodge Central manager who identified himself only as Michael W., claims hotel policy is to deny access to those whose credit cards reflect insufficient funds.
When asked if Mr. Nocentelli's credit card had been run through for a credit check, Mr. W. responded, "there are cameras in the hotel." Mr. W. then stated he was being harassed and hung up the phone.
Perkins' account was also widely shared and discussed on the New Parish's Facebook page.