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Forest Whitaker

Blasts NYC Deli

I Was Falsely Accused of Stealing

2/16/2013 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0215-forest-whitaker-milano-gettyForest Whitaker is furious with a NYC deli ... telling TMZ he was wrongly accused of shoplifting Friday morning ... and even FRISKED IN PUBLIC in a humiliating violation of his rights.

Whitaker -- an Academy Award-winning MILLIONAIRE -- says he was on his way out of the Milano Market on the Upper West Side Friday when he was stopped by a deli employee and accused of swiping an item from the shelf.

An eyewitness tells TMZ ... the employee proceeded to frisk Whitaker in plain view ... treating him as if he were a common criminal.

Shocker, the employee's pat down yielded zilch ... and Forest left the establishment baffled and angry.

Whitaker's rep tells TMZ, "This was an upsetting incident given the fact that Forest did nothing more than walk into the deli. What is most unfortunate about this situation is the inappropriate way store employees are treating patrons of their establishment.

Frisking individuals without proof/evidence is a violation of rights."

The rep adds, "Forest did not call the authorities at the request of the worker who was in fear of losing his employment. Forest asked that, in the future, the store change their behavior and treat the public in a fair and just manner.”

We called Milano Market for comment -- but no one wanted to talk. 

424 COMMENTS

No Avatar
46.

Gordon    

...time to play the RACE card, Forest!

557 days ago
47.

baen     

Look I am white guy from Australia and we get stoped all the time in your shops

557 days ago
48.

Spider    

I'm not sure I get this story. I mean, I get that he was accused of shoplifting and, rightfully, put out by the unfounded accusation. What I don't get is the whole "frisking" thing. I mean, c'mon, FW is a big dude - what did the store clerk do, pin him down and frisk him?

557 days ago
49.

dd    

Ridiculous!

557 days ago
50.

Dr Samuel Weiscrak    

Surprise, surprise another dumb ass employee tryin' to get his employer sued because he's too stupid to do the right thing when he suspects someone of theft! Fact of the matter is unless you directly witnessed them commit theft you've got nuttin'! If you did witness it ask them to step aside and try to detain them until the cops show up and do the friskin'. If he makes it out the door before you can stop them WHATEVER, let 'em go, get a description and call the cops and report the theft. Why would you risk your safety and get sued tryin' to apprehend some guy over a petty theft for some sh*t job you're working at a Deli???

557 days ago
51.

Edith    

Stupid

557 days ago
52.

David    

Nice teeth

557 days ago
53.

Denise    

It seems the store clerk not knowing, first, for sure if something was actually taken started accusing someone as suspiciously being characterized. Hence profiling the moment, thus resulting in a spirit that consumed the clerk of falsely accusing Forrest Whittaker. Never judge a book by it's cover.

557 days ago
54.

AlwaysOnTimeB    

Maybe his act of kindness towards the out of line employee will teach the employee to follow proper protocol the next time he is suspicious of someone. The employee should be very grateful that he still has a job.

557 days ago
55.

still2easy    

Forest is a good guy. This-was wrong on all levels

557 days ago
56.

Decker    

I'm constantly amazed at the ridiculous behaviour of cops on"cops:".

Some of these guys are just so utterly useless and obviously taking their past traumas out on the general public.

No sense of perspective.

557 days ago
57.

MadCharles    

stop whining. Everyone is suspect in NYC.

557 days ago
58.

paul a.    

You are a class act, Forest. Many a star would have let their egos get the best of them and get the guy fired. And youre one of the best actors around, btw.

To the employee, watch the movie "Notting Hill" on how to handle suspected shoplifters. There, Hugh Grant's character, explains to the lifter that he will call the police and should he be wrong about what he saw, he apologizes in advance.

Ive done it many times. The guilty ones give you the stuff back (and never come back again) and the innocent ones wait patiently for the police (and never come back again) but at least it's a respectful way of dealing with it!
Unfortunately, all kinds of people shoplift. I've stopped just as many well-groomed, well-dressed ones as the opposite. You never know.

557 days ago
59.

tessa    

billions of dollars are lost by retail store owners each year. who do you think pays for that? stop the thieves. get off the race train, there are plenty of thieves in all colors. make the world a better place. otoh, better think twice before putting your hands on me, I will be the one calling the law.

557 days ago
60.

YouDontSay    

Glad it was brought out in the open and maybe change can happen. I hate being watched or asked to see my items but boosting is on overkill right now.

557 days ago
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