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Early Monday, Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons posted an Instagram story implying that he and his friends were racially profiled by security at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia.
In the video, Simmons and a group of his black friends said they got “checked” by security with some being denied entry. The lone white friend in the group said that security did not check him.
Casino ‘strenuously rejects’ Simmons’ claim
On Tuesday, Crown responded with a fervent statement denying that race had any factor in Simmons and his friends being “checked” by security, that they instead experienced a routine ID check for a casino that doesn’t allow patrons under the age of 18 to enter.
“Crown strenuously rejects reports that it discriminated against a group of visitors last night,” the statement reads. "Crown's internal security policy requires our security officers to check identification of those persons they believe to be under the age of 25, this is an enhanced safeguard to ensure that no one under the age of 18 is permitted entry to the casino floor as required by law.
“The group subsequently provided identification and were permitted entry. Crown is an inclusive workplace.”
Simmons is 23 years old.
Stories differ on whether Simmons was denied entry
The most glaring conflict in the opposing accounts of what happened is over whether Simmons and his friends were eventually allowed access to the casino floor.
Simmons claims that part of his group was denied access. The casino refutes that account.
— Nick (@Nick_Battersby4) August 5, 2019
“I find it so crazy that the only guy who doesn’t get checked to go into the casino is this guy,” Simmons said while pointing his phone at his unnamed white friend. “I get checked, Mike gets checked and Taj gets checked. Thank you Crown Casino.”
“And they didn’t let me in. Or him. Or this guy. Wow. We’ve got a long way to go.”
Simmons felt ‘singled out’
Simmons addressed the incident again on Twitter Tuesday, claiming that he “felt personally singled out.”
As you know an incident happened last night at Crown and my friends and I felt personally singled out, no one likes to feel like this. I am very passionate about equality and I will always speak up even if it means having uncomfortable conversations.
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) August 6, 2019
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