September 27, 2016 - 4:30 PM
This story falls well short of our standards for news and should not have been published. The responsibility for ensuring completeness and accuracy in our stories rests with me and I regret that I must explain we no longer have faith that this story is entirely accurate.
I apologize for the confusion we may have caused.
We considered simply removing the story to avoid any further confusion but instead have opted to leave it here as it was written, along with this apology, for the record. It will be filed as a correction.
In pursuing this story, sensitivity stopped us from seeking explanation from the original source of the complaint who, we understand, is dealing with a family member in hospital. Clearly we should not have published the story without that input and a clear and full understanding of the situation. Since then, our attempts to understand what happened are frustrated by rumours, incomplete answers, incomplete information and missing sources. This happens all the time but readers don’t hear about them because those stories are not published. That did not happen this time and again, I take full responsibility.
We took Travelodge owner Rockey Patley at his word that whatever happened here was a misunderstanding and wasn’t intended and we still believe that to be the case. We recognize we have not helped and may have hindered resolution between the parties. That is my greatest regret because our intention, as always, is to help.
We have taken steps in our newsroom to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
I want to thank commenters below this story and in other forms for their assistance in identifying our failure. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.
'IF ANYBODY EVER DID THAT HERE, THEY'D BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY.'
KAMLOOPS - The manager of a Kamloops motel facing racism allegations wants to set the record straight.
Rockey Patley, who is also one of the owners of the Travelodge downtown, says a Facebook post alleging racist comments from motel staff has gone viral and the story is complete fabricated.
The post — which is now deleted — came from a man named Gary who said his stepdad was denied free breakfast at the motel because he is First Nations. His stepdad has been identified as an Upper Nicola Indian Band elder.
"We’ve been called I think 50 to 60 times, being called racist, being threatened, for something that never happened," Patley says. "Now this has gone viral and everyone’s been piling on this and there’s no truth to it."
Patley was made aware of the Facebook post Saturday evening, Sept. 24. He says the next morning he confronted his front desk staff and no one knew anything about it. He spoke with the man who said he knew nothing about what his stepson had posted online and said he was never denied service at the motel.
"Since then, I told (him) 'please tell Gary this is not true, take it down.'" Patley says. "The original Facebook post is down… it’s gone. But other people have carried it on in making things up, outright throwing lies out there just to propagate this."
Patley, who is Indo-Canadian, says the staff at the Travelodge is ethnically diverse so there's no way this could happen.
"I mean I’ve faced racism myself," Patley says. "That simply wouldn’t happen. If anybody ever did that here, they’d be fired immediately."
Patley says he's been in constant contact with the man who's still staying at the motel.
"This is something he does not need on his plate, let’s put it that way, and I feel really horrible that he’s involved in this," Patley says. "No one seems to want to listen to us, but this is the truth. What can we do?"
He says this has already had a negative impact on his business and will likely continue to.
"It’s absolutely based on something that didn’t happen and it’s really sad."
Patley says it's also been hard on his employees. His front desk staff have been called and threatened dozens of times.
"It’s just been like going through a nightmare. (Staff) can’t sleep at night, everyone's on edge. It’s scary," Patley says.
Patley says someone from the Upper Nicola Indian Band has also spoken to the man, who repeated to them the story wasn't true.
– This story was updated at 8:42 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016 to remove the identity of Gary's stepdad.
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