Employee Who Frisked Forest Whitaker Gets Fired

Deli worker axed from job after racially profiling Oscar-winning actor.

Posted: 02/19/2013 09:00 AM EST
Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker has gotten a smidgen of justice for a suspected racial profiling incident. Several days after a New York City deli employee accused the Oscar-winning actor of shoplifting — and frisking him — the employee’s boss is saying he was simply “misguided,” saying race was not a factor.

Whitaker was baffled and angry this past Friday when he was wrongly accused of shoplifting. As the actor was exiting Milano Market on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, he was hostilely stopped by a deli employee and accused of stealing something off a shelf. Afterwards, according to a witness, the employee then frisked Whitaker in front of passersby.

After learning it was Whitaker who was stopped and frisked, a representative for the deli attempted to explain there’s no way of knowing what frame of mind the employee was in when the incident occurred, but race did not motivate his actions. “We do not believe that he was racially motivated in his actions,” the rep said, “simply misguided."

To make sure that this doesn’t happen again, the market reportedly will be retraining its staff. On Monday, the owner of the store issued a formal apology and informed the public that the employee accused of racial profiling has been fired. 

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(Photo: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

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