Local entertainer alleges discrimination at luxury Waikiki hotel

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A complaint on Facebook has some in the community outraged.

A well-known local musician says he and his family were discriminated against at a luxury Waikiki hotel.

Weldon Kekauoha is a Grammy-nominated and Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning musician.

Across the world, Kekauoha shared a simple, yet profound message during his day with Mana’o Company: “Spread a little aloha around the world.”

That’s why it came as an even bigger blow on Sunday when he says his family was discriminated against during their staycation at the Halekulani Hotel.

“We decided we’d spend the last few hours at the pool, so that’s when we headed down to the pool, and that’s when, early on, it really took a turn for the worst,” Kekauoha said.

Kekauoha saw his wife being questioned by a security guard.

“This lady said that she saw you guys and you guys are locals and she believed that you just couldn’t be guests and she requested to have you guys removed,” Kekauoha said.

He says the security guard was following procedure by honoring the guest’s complaint, so he asked them to confirm that she, too, was a guest. His request was not honored.

“I think they ignored it only because they were afraid to offend the other guest,” Kekauoha said. “It was just a failure on their part to be fair.”

Hurt and embarrassed, Kekauoha vented on Facebook. Within two days, his post went viral with over 3,800 shares.

The hotel is also receiving backlash on its Facebook page.

On Tuesday, the hotel publicly apologized.

“The security personnel involved failed to follow our established standards and practices,” Halekulani Hotel spokesperson Diane Ako said. “Halekulani has never and will never tolerate bias or discrimination of any kind.”

The hotel offered its apologies to Kekauoha through email and over the phone. The general manager also apologized on the hotel’s Facebook page.

Kekauoha accepted the apology, saying the hotel has been wonderful during previous stays there, but the hurt goes beyond himself.

“What we experienced is something so small compared to what other people may have to deal with on a regular basis,” Kekauoha said. “It resonates with everyone because no wants to be excluded.”

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