Rapper Says Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Keeps a List of Banned African American Recording Artists

Rapper Meek Mill was threatened with arrest as he arrived at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday. A passenger accompanying him in his vehicle took video as security confronted the recording artist.

“If you do not leave this property immediately, you will be subject to arrest,” the man tells Mill.

…”The cosmopolitan hotel …. and it’s a few other hotels that be doing this to black entertainers because they don’t want too many blacks on they property! Vegas notorious for this too its not just me!!!!” wrote Mill on Twitter.

He claims he hasn’t had any altercations at the property in the past, and that he’s only ever been there one time — “with Nicki Minaj for a Jay-Z event 5 years ago.”

The Philadelphia-born musician has had his attorney send a demand letter to the hotel which claims “that the Cosmopolitan maintains a list of African American recording artists who should be denied access for no other reason than than their culture and skin color.” They’re merely asking for an apology and access to the property.

Here’s video from the incident:

The hotel had not provided a response to either TMZ or the local Fox affiliate covering the story.

If this is true it’s monumentally stupid on the hotel’s part. If the rapper believes it’s true then he shouldn’t settle for an apology, he should sue the hotel for no other reason than to be able to subpoena documents and emails and depose witnesses. And assuming the subpoenas aren’t quashed the hotel would be in a position of having to pay out in a significant way to avoid embarrassment (and then presumably make copies of emails and documents disappear so to avoid a rinse, repeat scenario).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “Rapper Says Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Keeps a List of Banned African American Recording Artists”

    As they should…..good for the hotel

  2. Hotel are private property and can trespass and therefore ban anyone from their properties for any reason they want. They also keep records of everyone banned from their properties. Not just black music artists. Trying to make a story of nothing here.

  3. Recording Aritists ? Roll eyes
    Bring back Sinatra & Presley & M Jackson and a long list of otherreal recording artists and entertainers
    I feel sorry for today’s generation very sad
    The good old days are gone with great entertainers true respect
    and being true artists with talent
    In those days while there were disagreements there were perhaps a few bad words
    No brawls and gunfights or gangs
    I’m not a big fan of Cosmo or MGM group management
    but I’d be surprised if they had no reasons reason having seen a diverse crowd
    there in the past

  4. @M, it’s a myth that anyone has total rights to private property. That’s been true going back to the Woolworth’s lunch counter if not before. And if you think it only applies to businesses, try refusing to sell your house based on the race of the buyer.

  5. What’s more likely, Cosmopolitan keeping a list of banned black rappers that would spend a bunch of money on gambling and bottle service for no reason, or a list of banned individuals who have a past history of incidents on the property.

    Great suggestion Gary. Because you “believe” it’s true, file a lawsuit despite have no Rule 11 basis. What a great way to waste judicial resources.

  6. @dwonderment – Cosmo is a Marriott Autograph property.

    And I’ve always liked the Cosmo, but this type of PR is not good.

    @Gary – why should this be bad if there’s a chance there’s no list? And what if it’s because of a past incident,

  7. The truth is, there are blacklist databases that hotels share. Bad behavior at another property can end you up on the list. This is a more likely scenario than the one proposed, not because crap like that doesn’t happen, but because at a professionally managed property like this one the former is more likely.

    The alternate scenario, that this person specifically wasn’t allowed on property because they were black and/or a rapper, seems unlikely simply because even the worst legal team in Vegas would say “we can’t do this in a manner that leaves written or digital evidence”. A particular overzealous security team could have done something like this though, as I’ve seen similarly crazy behaviour in other venues.

  8. @Gary – Where is the evidence of this list? If there is none, you’re doing an enormous disservice to the hotel.
    Musicians acting like tools and getting banned is not exactly new, regardless of ethnicity. Obviously, major hotels in Vegas share information about people who have gone off the deep end even by the loose standards of Vegas. If someone has caused serious problems for a neighboring business, why would I welcome that person in mine?

  9. @Dan
    My post is there because it is not racist
    The hotel would not ban lionel richie or sammy davis jr, but they might and should ban assholes, black or white, and this guy certainly sounds like one
    Just because there is a list if BLACK artists banned doesn’t make it more truthful
    He pulled the race card to cry wolf

  10. @Doug – Have you noticed that only racists use the term “race card”? You’re not doing your credibility any favors by using racist terminology.

  11. @CHRISTIAN
    what would you say it is then when an african american rapper says he was banned because he is an african american rapper?

  12. @James—

    The article is irrelevant. Doug praised the idea of keeping a list of excluded guests based on race. So, like I said: pretty racist.

  13. @Dan
    and I would also praise a list of banned white rappers, jewish rappers (i am jewish by the way..just for disclosure) and any other list of anybody else who is an asshole and pulls his race or ethnicity to justify ther stupidity

  14. I have doubts about this story. @Doug posted a link to a TMZ story that purportedly rationalizes the decision, and TMZ is also the source of the story that is the basis of this posting?

    Which is it? Don’t make me click on the link, please.
    But in todays age of twitter, and social media, there has to be more definitive evidence. Vegas has history a lot of history with Oriental’s, Italian’s guests, many African-American Musicians, Comedians, Boxers, etc., Even people appearing low-class get preferential treatment when they have money to play the tables.
    But the story may be true, I just need more evidence that doesn’t force me to just jump to a conclusion.
    And, no, I don’t take an attorney at his word, and I don’t go to Vegas.

  15. @doug, your first post is plain wrong. Had you qualified it, as you seem to do in subsequent posts, you’d have better standing . Defending the first post that seems to imply that discriminating based on race is racist – and btw, you can make a racist statement and not actually be a racist. Your follow up calling the rapper an asshole doesn’t make sense either. You’ve simply chosen to believe the hotel over the rapper. I’m curious how you’d handle being denied from somewhere you wanted to go. To me, there is not enough evidence that the rapper did something deserving of a ban to justify the hotel’s action. That said, if they had provided a reason to him when he was being denied, that’d be another story. Otherwise, who would just leave and not put up some sort of challenge. If the hotel didn’t want bad PR, they would have made this clear upfront and chosen another way to handle this discretely.

  16. Dreadful rubbish marketed as music ( and the zombie generation laps it up).
    In a hundred years from now, will Kanye West, Sixpence or Shupac/Tupac be remembered? Fat chance, but no doubt that Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Nat King Cole , Sarah Vaughan ( and thousands of their contemporaries) will still be heard.
    But the rappers shouldn’t be banned just because they have no talent.

  17. ““At The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the safety and security of our guests is our top priority. The recent situation regarding Meek Mill related to a matter of security, not race, and any reports citing otherwise are false. We pride ourselves on providing an inclusive environment, with zero tolerance for discrimination. Under different circumstances, Meek Mill would be welcomed to the resort, but not at the compromise of his personal safety and the safety of our guests.” – The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas”

  18. @Gary. I have no basis on which to form an opinion about the veracity of the story. I wonder why, however, you are so gung-ho on the idea of a lawsuit? Doesn’t it seen more responsible (if less exciting) to attempt to effect a cure in this way, without engaging the courts?

  19. What’s most likely is the hotel doesn’t want its guests subject to the high level of crime, violence and drama that these rappers bring wherever they go. I’m sick and tired of certain groups ruining neighborhoods and forcing good families out in search of safety all because of political correctness. The cosmopolitan gets my praise.

  20. @Paolo – Sixpence was a pop band. Not that they were very distinguished, but just so you don’t think they were rappers.

  21. @Christian
    I stand corrected. Maybe I was thinking of 50 Cents and discounting for the absence of talent.
    Probably equally dreadful.

  22. Not too many years ago, when Vegas hotels were “family owned” (unlike the current corporate ownership), disruptive guests of whatever variety were likely dealt with in a much quieter–but significantly firmer–manner.

  23. @Bill: The hotel would increase the credibility of its denial if it filed slander/libel (as appropriate) charges against this accuser. If they really believe this is a case of race card and fat head then they should come down like a ton of bricks for who they are and what they stand for.

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