Maui News

Discrimination Allegations from Hawaiʻi Entertainer go Viral

May 15, 2013, 9:38 AM HST
* Updated May 15, 11:11 AM
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Oahu, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Oʻahu, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

When a popular Hawaiʻi entertainer posted a letter on Facebook alleging discrimination at a well known Waikiki hotel, the item went viral, sparking widespread comments in social media circles.

The post, written by Weldon Kekauoha, lashed out against the Halekulani for an incident over the Mother’s Day weekend in which security, acting on a complaint, approached his wife at the pool to inquire if they were guests.

In his post, Kekauoha states that he “reluctantly complied” with requests for information on his stay, and were advised of where the complaint originated.

“A few minutes later, feeling offended,” Kekauoha said he approached the same security personnel to request that they also confirm whether or not the woman (described by Kekauoha as a “Caucasian woman dressed in green”) who filed the complaint, was in fact a hotel guest too.

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“I waited for over 90-minutes for security to confirm if she was a guest or not. They never ever did… My request fell upon deaf-ears and only served to validate the discrimination because security chose not to take a pro-active roll,” said Kekauoha.

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Within the first 24-hours of the post, the item was shared by 3,683 people, and had 439 comments. As of this morning, the item had been shared by 4,220 people, had 1,133 likes, and garnered 473 comments.

Hotel officials have since apologized saying the hotel, “has never, and will never, tolerate bias or discrimination of any kind or in any form.” The apology came in the form of a letter from General Manager Ulrich Krauer that was also shared on Kekauoha’s Facebook page.

The letter further stated, “Unfortunately, the security personnel involved failed to follow our established standards and practices, for which I am sincerely sorry.”

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The hotel’s website describes the resort as a “House Befitting Heaven” stating that the,”Halekulani has been hosting visitors to Waikiki Beach for nearly 100 years. Today its reputation for gracious hospitality, impeccable service and magnificent cuisine is unequaled on Oʻahu and renowned, throughout the world.”

Kekauoha acknowledged in a follow-up post that the Halekulai has been a “wonderful place” for him and his family, but he said, “I’m so sad to say that I will probably never stay there again.”

He continued saying, “I think together we’ve all made the point crystal clear. Kamaʻaina and people in general will not allow such un-fairness.”

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