Racism allegations swirl after Antigonish hotel dispute

A group of friends is accusing a hotel manager of racist behaviour after a dispute at a hotel in Antigonish, N.S.

Owner of Chateau Inns says group was loud and rude; guests dispute owner's account

Devante Clyke said the friends hadn't caused problems at the inn. (CBC)

A group of friends is accusing a hotel manager of racist behaviour after a dispute at the hotel in Antigonish, N.S.

The friends say they were poorly treated because they are black, but the hotel manager says they were loud and abusive and that's why he kicked them out.

Devante Clyke said he and three friends — all African Nova Scotian — checked into Antigonish Chateau Inns on Saturday night. Around midnight, the friends prepared to head out to a pub, but were interrupted by a knock at their door.

They used some obscenities on me and would not leave.- Gary Cusack, manager of Chateau Inns

"We were inside the hotel and we were just chilling out and having a little fun, but we weren't loud at all," Clyke told CBC News on Monday.

"This guy came and viciously knocked on the door. I didn't know what to think about it, so our buddy opened the door and [the manager] just said, 'Get out.'"

The manager, Gary Cusack, called the police.

The friends are from Guysborough and were in Antigonish for a night out. Clyke said the owner accused them of disturbing the peace. He said he and his friends weren't loud.

"I don't want to say it's racial discrimination, but there's no other way to put it. He wouldn't speak to us, he was running from us and he wouldn't elaborate on why he wanted us to leave. He just directly told us to get out. It was disgusting," he said.

"He shouldn't be the manager. It's sickening."

Midnight party disruptive, says manager

Cusack, the manager of Antigonish Chateau Inns, gave a different account of the incident. He said a car alarm woke him up after midnight and he heard a party in the inn.

"When I opened up the door there were six to seven people in the room partying," he said.

"I did not know their ethnicity until they opened up the door when they were asked to leave. I made no racial comments whatsoever."

Cusack said the room was for four people only and they were being noisy after the inn's designated 11 p.m. quiet time.

"They used some obscenities on me and would not leave. They accused me of being racist. I then went and called the RCMP," he said. "We had a children's hockey team staying at the motel."

Cusack said he offered to refund their money, but no one from the group had come to collect it. The room was not damaged, he said.

Nova Scotia RCMP confirmed officers went to the hotel early Sunday morning and spoke to both sides in the dispute. Sgt. Al Leblanc said the friends agreed to leave and no one wanted to lay charges so police didn't pursue the matter.