musicians

Four Tops member sues hospital for racial discrimination

Reuters

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Four Tops member sues hospital for racial discrimination

FILE PHOTO: Members of The Four Tops attend the 2023 MusiCares Persons of the Year Gala, honoring Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. February 3, 2023.

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

Alexander Morris, lead singer of the famous Motown group, said staff members assumed he was mentally ill when he told them he was a member of the Four Tops

The lead singer of the celebrated Motown group the Four Tops has sued a Michigan hospital, claiming he was put into restraints and denied treatment for a serious heart problem after medical personnel did not believe that he was a member of the group.

Alexander Morris, who joined the Four Tops in 2018, accused Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital of racial discrimination and negligence in a lawsuit filed in federal court this week.

Morris was taken to the hospital’s emergency room in April 2023 with chest pain and difficulty breathing.

When he told a nurse and a security guard that he was a member of the Four Tops and had security concerns over fans and stalkers, the lawsuit contends, staff members assumed he was mentally ill. Morris was taken off oxygen despite a history of heart problems, placed in restraints, and referred to a psychiatrist, according to the lawsuit.

A security guard told Morris to “sit his Black ass down” when Morris tried to prove his identity, according to the lawsuit.

Morris eventually convinced a nurse by showing her a video of a recent Four Tops performance, after which his restraints were removed and he was put back on oxygen, the lawsuit said.

The hospital offered Morris a $25 gift card to a local supermarket as compensation for his experience, which he declined, according to the lawsuit. He is seeking at least $150,000 in damages.

Ascension, the nonprofit company that operates the hospital, declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit but said, “We remain committed to honoring human dignity and acting with integrity and compassion for all persons and the community. We do not condone racial discrimination of any kind.”

The Four Tops were a leading Motown group in the 1960s, with hits such as “Reach Out I’ll Be There” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).” Three of the original four members have died. The fourth, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, continues to perform with the group. – Rappler.com

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