The owner of a Manhattan deli, where actor Forest Whitaker was stopped, accused of shoplifting and frisked, has apologized and says the employee who patted down the actor is “no longer with us,” according to Feb. 19 ABC News report.
Milano Market deli owner Anthony Galofaro told TMZ that he regretted the Feb. 15 incident and offered to make to donation to the Oscar-winning actor’s charity of choice, noting that the employee who stopped the actor outside the deli happens to be a “decent man” who was “just doing his job.”
Galofaro said the deli gets a fair share of shoplifters and the employee assumed Whitaker had taken something from the store. He apologized and explained that the longtime employee no longer works at Milano Market, but reiterated that it was a “sincere mistake” on the former employee’s part.
The incident had nothing to do with race, Galofaro said, indicating that the media accusations of racism are hurtful. Whitaker's rep, Jennifer Plante, recently spoke out about the incident. “This was an upsetting incident given the fact that Forest did nothing more than walk into the deli,” Plante told the New York Daily News. “What is most unfortunate about this situation is the inappropriate way store employees are treating patrons of their establishment.”
She added that the actor chose not to get the police involved because the employee was afraid of losing his job. Whitaker did however, offer the deli some advice. “Forest asked that, in the future, the store change their behavior and treat the public in a fair and just manner,” she said.
The deli is reportedly a favorite of celebrities, including Tobey McGuire and Sarah Jessica Parker.
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