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Forest Whitaker

Deli APOLOGIZES

We're Not Racist

2/18/2013 10:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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The NYC deli that accused Forest Whitaker of shoplifting last week is blaming the incident on a "misguided" employee ... and insists race was absolutely NOT a factor.

TMZ spoke with a rep for the Milano Market ... where the Academy Award winner was publicly FRISKED after he was wrongly suspected of stealing an item.

The rep tells us, "The management of Milano Market deeply regrets the wrongful actions of our employee in stopping and frisking Forest Whitaker."

"While we can not delve into the employee's mindset, we do not believe that he was racially motivated in his actions, simply misguided."

The Market says it is taking steps to retrain employees so it doesn't happen again.

And there's more ... the rep says the store wants to reach out to Forest so it could make a donation to the charity of his choice, in an effort to make things right.

update_bar
1:45 PM PT -- The shop owner just called in to TMZ Live to issue a formal apology for the incident.  He also said he FIRED the guy who frisked Forest.

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107 COMMENTS

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16.

Iphone5    

Yeah I'm sure they weren't.... -_- NOW SUE THOSE BASTARDS!

611 days ago
17.

Lee    

There was a comment in one of the NY papers that this is not unusual for this store to accuse and frisk.

611 days ago
18.

Dick Bupkiss    

I don't know why Forrest would let a store clerk frisk him. Forrest is a smart guy who knew this was no store security guard and even they need probable cause and call then cops. If the employee was motivated by racism, fire his ass. Sensitivity training my ass, a racist is a racist. If he honestly thought Forrest stole something, then he's too stupid to be working retail and should also get fired or offered another less "glamorous" position like maintenance crew member. Unless Forrest forgot to pay or is a full blow Klepto, one can know he didn't steal anything. He could likely buy the restaurant by buying the land it sits on and give his racist tennant some notice. This thing about the deli owners being racist, if that were true how would anyone know? If they are known racists and are doing well in business than the majority of their customers must not know about that or care.

My guess is the employee was a bit overzealous looking to get a raise. Given the most probable occurance, the employee should be fired. Physically touching Forrest like that could also get this lamebrain an assault charge, forcible confinement (think about it, while your being frisked, are you going to move?). So Forrest could have the guy charged, but likely wouldn't. He could also sue the restaurant but likely wouldn't.

or

He's researching a movie role. Those method actors..

611 days ago
19.

Roman    

Sh:t happens. Just accept the apology and be grateful for the humbling experience. Might feel nice to be treated like the rest of us for once.

611 days ago
20.

Dick Bupkiss    

I heard Forrest showed up the next at the Deli wearing his Samurai outfit from his film Ghost Dog. He asked to cut the corn beaf with this sword and accidentally damaged something or someone or .. not true-just humour but he could show up like that and have a chat with emp #345lamebrain

611 days ago
21.

masterpapi    

Not to group ALL of the establishments together..but most of these Upper West Side Deli's are only interested in gorging $$...They've hardly any interest in keeping abreast with past or current affairs or celebs, for that matter. That's all. More Money. I know this because I, too, was watched like a hawk on two ocassions I happened in there in 2010 and again in 2012 during a visit to my dentist.

611 days ago
22.

myopinion    

They knew they had to make a public apology!

611 days ago
23.

Rocky    

You are not allowed to publicly search someone like that, he's not a cop. I would have ****ed him up for that.

611 days ago
24.

MastaPapi    

Not to group ALL of the establishments together..but most of these Upper West Side Deli's are only interested in gorging $$...They've hardly any interest in keeping abreast with past or current affairs or celebs, for that matter. That's all. More Money. I know this because I, too, was watched like a hawk on two ocassions I happened in there in 2010 and again in 2012 during a visit to my dentist.

611 days ago
25.

William    

When you go into those mom & pop stores in NYC they always think people of color are stealing and i mean all people of color, not just black.

611 days ago
26.

furious cupcakes    

u know he put that ham hog in his pocket and bOunced.

611 days ago
27.

Truth    

MAN, THIS IS ALL F*CKTARDED FOR REALZ!! ALL THIS STORE HAD TO DO WAS INSTALL SURVEILLANCE CAMS AND A DUDE IN CHARGE OF SECURITY. NORMALLY IF THEY STOP YOU THEY HAVE TO PROVIDE EVIDENCE YOU TOOK SH*T. THEY DIRECT YOU TO THE SECURITY OFFICE AND SHOW YOU WHAT YOU TOOK. VIA THE CAMS. THEN THEY EITHER CALL THE COPS OR NEG. A $$ETTLEMENT USUALLY IN THE 3-5 HUNDRED RANGE AND LET YOU GO. IF U DONT HAVE THE CASH U DEAL WITH THE PO-PO. ILLEGAL BUT THEY DO IT UNLESS YOU WANNA GOTO COURT AND PROBATION. #TRUTH!!

611 days ago
28.

Carl    

They are probably scared to death at the moment. Even if it wasn't racist, it is against the law to frisk someone in that situation. You have to call the cops and they can frisk him. If you do then it is assault.

611 days ago
29.

Foebia    

Sure and harvey levin isn't a thirsty ***got

611 days ago
30.

Sue from jersey    

It sucks being accused of anything you didn't do how embarrassing

611 days ago
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