Y’all Tried The Wrong One This Time: New York Deli That Accused Forest Whitaker Of Shoplifting Issues Public Apology

February 18, 2013  |  

Source: WENN

The Milano Market located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan falsely accused Oscar Award-winning actor, Forest Whitaker of shoplifting last week, reports Essence.com. The way the story is being told by Whitaker’s publicist, one of the deli’s employees approached the actor as he was leaving the store and accused him of stealing. When Forest denied having stolen anything from the store, the employee prohibited him from leaving the deli and even frisked him in front of the store’s other patrons.

“This was an upsetting incident given the fact that Forest did nothing more than walk into a deli,”the actor’s publicist told the New York Daily News.

The deli employee eventually apologized to Forest when he realized he’d made a mistake and Forest was a pretty good sport about it. He declined to file a complaint because the deli employee feared he would be fired over the incident. Instead, he took advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate to the business’s owner, the horrible manner in which they treat their customers.

“Forest asked that, in the future, the store change their behavior and treat the public in a fair and just manner,” revealed his publicist.

Since the embarrassing incident, owners of the Milano Market have come forth, issuing a public statement through TMZ regarding the false accusations.

“The management of Milano Market deeply regrets the wrongful actions of our employee in stopping and frisking Forest Whitaker… While we can not delve into the employee’s mindset, we do not believe that he was racially motivated in his actions, simply misguided.”

Representatives from the deli have also promised to make a donation to the charity of Forest’s choice, in an effort to make amends for the horrible offense.

Forest is a cool guy for not making a fuss over the incident and instead using it to bring attention to the flawed behavior that many business owners exhibit towards the public, especially those who are of color.

What do you think of Forest’s reaction?


Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise.

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  • Guest

    Although I have never been accused of shoplifting, I think the act of patting down people is just a violation all around. I know it must be done to find the stolen items, but the overtone of sexual harassment also exists and just shouldn’t be done unless you are ABSOLUTELY SURE someone has actually shoplifted!!! Forest handled it with grace, class and dignity, which by the way he wasn’t shown!! Kudos to him!!!!

  • That’s terrible. Racial bias aside, they need to seriously retrain their employees. There is NOTHING he could have stolen in a deli that would be worth the risk of injury and death to the employee by confronting him. I mean what could he have stolen a salami roll?

    To bring up the white elephant in the room, had he been a white man of similar build wearing the same hairstyle manner of dress etc. They would have never ever accused him of stealing they probably would have even smiled and wished him a nice day on his way out. I imagine this deli is probably located in an upper middle class to affluent area where they don’t see many blacks and assumed the only reason he was there was to steal. Sad and disgusting.

  • Reese

    That is terrible and they definitely messed with the wrong. The same thing happened to me in a department store a few years ago, it was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life.

  • Veratta Pegram-Floyd

    I applaud him but am concerned about the deli’s business practices. I used to work for Safeway Inc. and they had a VERY CLEAR policy about who was allowed (store management) to intercept a potential thief.