Tyrese Gibson is suing Home Depot after claiming he was racially discriminated against during a recent trip to one of their stores. According to Gibson, he and his two associates visited Home Depot in West Hills, California, where they encountered “outrageous discriminatory mistreatment and consumer racial profiling.” Eric Mora and Manuel Hernandez who are said to “regularly provide construction services to Gibson,” accompanied the Fast & Furious star to Home Depot to pick up materials for a home remodel project. The men, who are of African-American and Mexican descent, believe that Home Depot associates “purposely interfered with and refused to process” the items they tried to purchase due to their skin color.
The lawsuit alleges that the incident took place on February 11, and the three men are seeking $1 million in damages from the home improvement retailer. The court documents allege that the two men went into the store while Gibson waited in the car because fans had recognized him. In order to avoid fanfare, Gibson gave Mora and Hernandez permission to use his personal credit card to buy the items. Despite Gibson giving the men the green light to use his card, documents state that “the cashier refused to complete the purchase transaction.”
Gibson even went inside the store to remedy the situation by explaining to the cashier that everything was fine, but the employee was dismissive of his request to check out. “The cashier gave no reasonable explanation other than repeating ‘store policy’ and demanded to see a form of identification,” claimed the lawsuit. Things escalated and Gibson requested to speak to a manager, but according to the suit, “The manager refused to speak with Gibson in person.” Eventually, Gibson was able to buy the items he came to Home Depot for, but not without a fight. “It was only after significant heated discussion with the cashier that Gibson was finally able to complete the transaction,” said the lawsuit.
Tyrese Gibson stands firm in his belief that the hesitance he received in the checkout line from the Home Depot employee was racially motivated. The suit further alleges that the cashier “refused to process the transaction based on their groundless suspicion of Gibson, Mora and Hernandez arising from their skin color, and in the case of Mora and Hernandez, their national origin.” He backed up his claims by filming a portion of the incident and uploading it to YouTube as proof of the injustice he experienced. At the end of the heated exchange, Gibson tells the cashier, “I understand policy, but you know you’re being extra right now.”
Gibson says that he’s been a loyal customer of the West Hills Home depot for over a decade, and he was frustrated at the lack of respect he received from the cashier during his visit back in February. “My problem with what just happened is I’ve been living three blocks from here for 10 years, and if this is a policy… Why are you the first person to stop my team and my ability to come in here when I’ve been coming to this particular Home Depot for 10 years?” he asked in the video.
Court docs insist that Home Depot “has refused to take any responsibility” and is prepared to take on Gibson, Mora and Hernandez in court. “Gibson, Mora and Hernandez are taking a stand against The Home Depot to hold it accountable,” the lawsuit reads. “The company needs to understand that there are consequences for discriminatory mistreatment and consumer racial profiling,” said the court filing.
When a representative for People magazine reached out to Home Depot for a response to Gibson’s lawsuit, a spokesperson for the company said, “Diversity and respect for all people are core to who we are, and we do not tolerate discrimination in any form.” The statement added that Home Depot “values Mr. Gibson as a customer” and has tried to reach out to him privately to resolve the matter.