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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. 

425 COMMENTS

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76.

NYCBlackMan    

FOREST YOU MUST SUE SO THAT IT WILL SEND A MESSAGE TO OTHER ESTABLISHMENTS! YOU MUST!

429 days ago
77.

KAJ528    

Yeah, that's beyond wrong - and illegal. A store does NOT have the right to pat a person down because they "think" they saw something. Disgusting, and I hope he sues them. Maybe it's best it happened to someone famous, bc they've probably done it to tons of "nobody" customers, and never been caught. Now perhaps they'll stop acting like ignorant morons.

429 days ago
78.

nof    

I was frisked once.


All they found?


Two miniature jars of SKIPPY PEANUT BUTTER I'd tried to lift with my large winter "Stealing coat."


Felt SO sorry for me they let me go.


Them were SOME LEAN YEARS.


Cured me of stealing, tell you that much ...

429 days ago
79.

Wow ...    

Big mistake, huge! Forest Whitaker probably should have called the police, but releasing this treatment to the media is far more damaging than a police report. They will suffer consequences rather than get a slap on the hand behind closed doors.

429 days ago
80.

Woot    

Teach 'em a lesson, Forrest. Sue the establishment. Make them pay for not educating their employees. Make the staff worthy of the proposed minimum wage!

429 days ago
81.

bboy    

Yup, it still exist folks!...i'm not allowing any store employee to frisk me unless they are willing to pay me $500+ when they realize im no thief

429 days ago
82.

pix    

This happen to me at Target, I was held against my will and they would not call the police. I let the police check me the filed a suite against Target and won. The worse part is the employe at the nerve to say to my where did you hidd it. I hope he was fired.

429 days ago
83.

Applehead    

Yes, he was wronged, and the employee acted I appropriately.. Forrest showed real class in how he dealt with it--proportionately. I would hope the store would be equally classy in sending Whittaker a letter of apology and reprimanding the employee.. Much respect to Forrest for not throwing his celebrity weight around and getting lawyers and police involved.

429 days ago
84.

Keyser Söze    

Reminds me of an incident that happen to me a couple of years ago...

I went to a supermarket with a (unenforceable) policy to leave your backpack at the front. I knew I would be in and out in less than a minute - I just wanted one item, and they didn't have it. So I was about to leave when the store manager jumped in front me, accusing me to have shoplift something and ordering me to let him see the content of my pack. I told somethingng like "F*ck off, I was barely inside your store, I didn't do sh*t, so you ain't gonna check my stuff." The a-hole threatened to call the cops, to which I said "CALL THEM, dumbass! I haven't done nothing!" You would think he would have just let it go, since he had no proof that I did anything... but, lo and behold, the jackass actually call the police. They showed up 15 minutes later, took both our statements together, then just ask me: "how long were you in the store?", "Less than two minutes"; then, they asked the manager "did you actually see him put anything in his backpack?", "Euh... no, but that's not the point...". The cop just turned to me and said "OK, man. You can go." And that was it - I was out of the store, without ANYBODY frisking me or checking my bag, laughing my ass off while the manager was literally losing his **** behind me!

Basically, someone has to have genuine just-cause to do anything like this; if they don't and you protest about getting search, not even the police has a right to search you.

429 days ago
85.

stef    

Why would you bother writing the part about him being a millionaire? Wynona Rider was a millionaire when she was arrested for shoplifting!!!! (for the record, I do NOT believe Forest Whitaker stole anything! Just not sure why you felt the need to add 'millionaire' to the story)

429 days ago
86.

Steven318    

Smdh never been searched but watched in a lot of stores while they watching me one of their own kind is probably stealing me and one of my white friends use to joke about it all the time saying going in a store he he's going to rob them blind because they are going to be watching me its sad but true in a lot of cases

429 days ago
87.

Lucille    

Forest should have never allowed them to frisk him without the police present. He should have and perhaps still should, file a police report.

These people come from all of the world to America and behave as if black people have to answer to them, and now this person is worried about his job, he should be fire because Forest could hold that deli liable.

429 days ago
88.

Jericho Morton    

This is happening globally. People have become Security State Robots. It wasn't that long ago that if someone put their hands on you like that, as if they owned you, they probably wouldn't be playing the piano for a while. Now you pop off for a shopping trip to NYC or Chicago or something, only after a series of obese head shaven perverts have rifled around your crotch, your children's genitalia touched up, scanned you with radioactivity, leered at your naked avatar and threatened you with extreme force to comply while being in direct violation of the majority of your Bill of Rights and most of the Constitution. Does anyone understand what has happened?

429 days ago
89.

Poopsi47    

Racism is stll alive

429 days ago
90.

kitnplayn    

Shame on you, Forest Whitaker. You should have hit them with the full extent of punishment, bad publicity and a financial consequence, because failing to do so, is failing to protect future victims.

429 days ago
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