Forest WhitakerI’m pretty sure Forest Whitaker had no idea his trip to a NYC deli would turn into a disaster. According to his publicist, Jennifer Plante, Whitaker was falsely accused of shoplifting and then frisked at the Milano Market on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The unnamed employee wouldn’t allow Whitaker to leave the store and frisked him in front of the other customers.

“This was an upsetting incident given the fact that Forest did nothing more than walk into a deli,” Plante said in a statement to The New York Daily News. “What is most unfortunate about this situation is the inappropriate way store employees are treating patrons of their establishment. Frisking individuals without proof/evidence is a violation of rights.”

I suppose stop and frisk is more than a NYPD thing.

Another employee of the deli confirmed the incident. “It was around lunchtime and the store was packed,” said a Milano employee who refused to give his name. “We were like 50 people deep. The person walked in and out really quickly so our person just made a mistake. The employee apologized immediately. It was an honest mistake. I’ve been here 14 years and nothing like this has ever happened.”

Although the employee later apologized, Plante stated that Whitaker was still upset about the incident. “This was an upsetting incident given the fact that Forest did nothing more than walk into the deli”. As upsetting as Whitaker was, he didn’t file a complaint with the NYPD because he feared the employee would lose his job. “Forest asked that, in the future, the store change their behavior and treat the public in a fair and just manner,” added his publicist.

Whitaker is currently in New York City filming the movie Black Nativity, with Angela Bassett.

If you were in Whitaker’s shoes, what would you have done?

17 Comments

  1. Jame (@jameane)

    Dumb question time. What on earth could anyone steal at a deli that would warrant a frisk?

  2. Is the ham and turkey $1000 there?! What can you steal from a deli? A bag of chips?! They wouldn’t allow him to leave the store, frisked him and attempted to press charges for shoplifting… shoplifting what?! A tuna sandwich! Workers at the deli are getting brave and big-headed over some cold cuts.

  3. We only heard about this because Forest Whitaker is a celebrity who happen to look just like any regular everyday hard working black man, now we heard about this one just think how many average hard working black man who go thru this type treatment everyday, me personally I don’t think I would have let the store employee stop and frisk me I would have stayed there and call the police before I let him frisk me!

  4. missy@

    I’ve been in Milano Market tons of times. Really sad to read this. Not that it matters but it’s really not a “deli” as much as it is a specialty store it’s near Columbia University and it’s packed with hard to find food items. I usually buy items from here. I sometimes get a salad but they’re overpriced and I’d rather make my own. Don’t get me wrong it has a Deli section, but they they also have a “butcher” like section, a cheese section, it’s pretty nice in there. Sad to hear this and won’t be shopping there for a while. I mean that’s crazy. I have a lot more respect for Mr. Whitacker for taking the high rode. I hope this person knows his job was saved, because Forest didn’t let the experience take him there.

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