Billionaire BET founder: I was racially profiled at luxury resort
© Getty Images

The co-founder of Black Entertainment Television is claiming that he was racially profiled at a luxury resort in Florida last month. 

Bob Johnson, who reportedly became the first black billionaire after selling BET in 2001, told WPFB, a local ABC affiliate, that he felt humiliated upon returning from a fishing trip at the five-star hotel, Eau Palm Beach. 

Johnson said that as he was checking in to the hotel he gave an employee his Florida driver's license, his American Express card and passport.


He said that the staffer then asked Johnson to take his sunglasses off — a request that he initially thought was a joke. 

Johnson refused to take his sunglasses, which his said are prescription glasses, off and was told that he could not check-in if he didn't, according to the ABC affiliate. 

Eau Palm Beach spokesman Nick Gold told the news station that the policy is for guest's protection. 

"It is standard operating procedure in the industry to ask to make sure that the person who is presenting themselves to check-in and they present identification that it does match and if they're wearing dark glasses with a ball cap low over their face, you want to make sure that it is the same person, much like what would happen at TSA rules going through the airport," Gold said.

But Johnson had a different interpretation.

"I think it's a silly rule and I think it has overtones of racial profiling," Johnson, who owns 165 hotels, said to the news station. 

The news station noted that records show police talked with Johnson at the hotel. Johnson left the hotel after no compromise was met. He told the ABC affiliate he will never return.