culture : Four Tops singer says hospital put him in straitjacket after not believing he was in Motown group

culture : Four Tops singer says hospital put him in straitjacket after not believing he was in Motown group
culture : Four Tops singer says hospital put him in straitjacket after not believing he was in Motown group

Thursday 13 June 2024 04:46 AM

newsonline - The lead singer of the Four Tops said a hospital put him in a straitjacket and ordered a psychological examination after refusing to believe that he was part of the world-famous Motown group.

Alexander Morris is the current lead singer of the legendary combo after joining in 2019.

After suffering from chest and breathing problems in April of last year, he went to the Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Detroit, for help.

However, he has claimed that staff at the hospital refused to believe he really was the famous singer, instead thinking he was mentally ill.

Morris, a black man, has since filed a lawsuit against the hospital, alleging racial discrimination and other misconduct, after staff, he claimed, put him in a straitjacket and ordered a psychological examination.

The 53-year-old went to the hospital with "clear symptoms of cardiac distress" and was placed on oxygen according to the federal lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, Sky News' US partner NBC News reports.

However, Morris informed a nurse and security guard in the emergency room that he was part of the famous vocal quartet as he feared security concerns from possible stalkers or fans, but they didn't believe him.

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Instead, a doctor ordered a psychological evaluation and he was restrained for at least an hour and a half, the lawsuit says.

Image: From left: Roquel Payton, Alexander Morris, Ronnie McNeir, and Duke Fakir of the Four Tops perform at the All In Music & Arts Festival in 2022

In a statement released by his attorneys, Morris said: "It was a terrifying experience to be in the middle of a medical emergency, to be placed into restraints, to have my oxygen turned off, my personal effects taken from me, and no help from the doctors and nurses because of the colour of my skin.


"Racial profiling nearly cost me my life."

The lawsuit added that Morris had a "significant known history of cardiac disease" and the alleged racial discrimination delayed his hospital treatment.

Morris asked whether he could prove his identity to staff by showing his identification card, but the white male security guard ordered him to "sit his black ass down", the lawsuit says.

It also alleges that Morris was ignored when he told staff members he was struggling to breathe and asked for the oxygen back, and when he asked for his possessions to be returned so he could seek treatment at another hospital.

The confusion was only cleared up when Morris' wife arrived and saw what was happening, the lawsuit says.

After she told the security officers that Morris really was a famous Motown singer, a nurse went to his side and he showed her a video of him performing at the Grammys, the lawsuit says.

Only then, according to the legal action, was the straitjacket removed and oxygen returned to the singer.

It adds that the hospital offered Morris a $25 (£19.50) gift card as an apology - but he refused to accept it.

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Morris is now seeking more than $75,000 (£58,600) in damages at a jury trial.

The Four Tops started in the 1950s and have had hits like Baby, I Need Your Loving, I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) and It's The Same Old Song.

They have since been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and have had a changing cast over the years.

In a statement, the hospital said: "We remain committed to honouring human dignity and acting with integrity and compassion for all persons and the community.

"We do not condone racial discrimination of any kind. We will not comment on pending litigation."

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