Meters’ Leo Nocentelli Allegedly Denied Lodging Because Of His Race
Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli was denied lodging at a San Francisco hotel in an allegedly racially motivated incident last Thursday. According to SF Weekly, a manager from the Travelodge on Market Street refused to accept credits cards from three members of the Meters Experience because they were black.
Jason Perkins, who runs the Brick and Mortar Music Hall, where the Meters Experience was set to perform, told Boing Boing:
“I bought 4 rooms for the band and prepaid for them on debit card. After sound check, Leo and the band went to the hotel and tried to check in. The manager refused to accept 3 of 4 members credit cards for incidentals (4th member is Rich Vogel/white dude). Leo called me and (my family and I) drove to the hotel at 7:30 pm. I asked what the hell and manager pointed at 3 members and said he wouldn’t accept credit cards and ‘those people’ need to pay cash deposit. When I asked what did he mean by ‘those people’ – he pointed at Leo and said ‘black people.’
I felt like I was hit in the face. It was stunning. I called the police and when they arrived, the police went through it with him and then he caught himself and said that they cannot check in any longer as he didn’t feel ‘safe.’ He then refused to talk. Leo and Bill Dickens then had to console ME as I was beyond upset and they explained that as older fellows who grew up in the South, they understood this happens….
The manager refused to give his name until Police instructed him to give a contact reference and that is when I received a card for ‘Ginger’ (Latu) who now supposedly does not work there!”
The story has since picked up steam and a number Bay Area news outlets, as well as New Orleans’ Times-Picayune, have reported on the incident. Nocentelli is currently nominated for the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame along with the rest of the original Meters, George Porter Jr., Art Neville and Ziggy Modeliste.