Screenshot from ABC Tampa Bay

Archived: Racist Note Left for Black CEO at Hotel May not Have Been What it Appeared

A family vacation for Frank Davis, president and CEO of The Horizon Group, turned less than ideal when he found a handwritten note in his hotel room that read, “You’re a n****r.”


Davis, who has championed diversity for many years, was disappointed and believed a hotel employee was likely involved. But after a thorough investigation, it appears this was not the likely story and the note may not have been meant for Davis at all.

Davis and his family were staying at the Art Ovation Hotel, a Marriott lodging. In a statement provided to DiversityInc, Marriott said:

We understand and share the concerns of our Sarasota community and our guests regarding recent events. We sincerely apologize for the family’s experience and have shared our apologies directly with them.

Due to the concerning nature of the situation, we immediately launched a thorough internal investigation including checking the electronic memory of the guest room locks. Our investigation has found no evidence that any associate of the hotel was involved in this incident. Additional findings have indicated that the offensive note appears to have already been in the room, likely left by a previous occupant, when the guests checked in and was not directed at the guests in any way.


We will continue to work closely with the Sarasota Police Department as they pursue this matter.

The safety and security of our guests is of paramount importance to us and we remain committed to providing an environment where all feel welcome. Again, we apologize to all those impacted by this experience and regardless of the source of this note, we deeply regret that any guest of ours had to endure this situation.

Marriott handled the awful situation appropriately and took the right course of action. And if its findings are accurate, the only thing the company is guilty of is not throwing away a piece of trash.

However, if the note was intended for someone else in a racist way, it echoes Davis’ initial shock that something like this still happens in this day and age.

“This is something in 2018 you don’t expect this kind of thing to happen,” Davis said. He added that he has not been subjected to racism like that since the 1960s.

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