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Bisexual comedian Eric Andre victim of ‘racial profiling’ by police: ‘Be careful’

Maggie Baska April 25, 2021
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Eric Andre panel

Eric Andre speaks onstage at the Netflix Adult Animation Q&A and Reception on 20 April 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Netflix)

Bisexual comedian Eric Andre says that he was the victim of ‘racial profiling’ by police while he visited an Atlanta airport.

Andre shared his experience in a series of posts on Twitter on Wednesday (21 April). He said he was boarding a Los Angeles-bound flight at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia when he was stopped for a “random” drugs search, but he said he was the “only POC” in the line. The 2 Broke Girls actor said he was able to leave the encounter when he told the police “no”, but he warned others to “be careful”.

Andre, who tagged the Atlanta Police Department, wrote: “I was just racially profiled by two plain clothes Atlanta PD police in @Delta terminal T3 at the Atlanta airport. They stopped me on the way down the bridge to the plane for a ‘random’ search and asked they could search me for drugs. I told them no. Be careful.”

He later confirmed that the police “let me go”, and he was able to board his flight. Andre also addressed Atlanta mayor Keisha Bottoms, saying: “I want this reported.”

He wrote in another tweet, which was also addressed to Bottoms, that he was the “only POC [in] line” “at that moment” when he was addressed by officers.

“I know this isn’t the PD you want representing your airports,” Eric Andre wrote to Bottoms.

Bottoms later responded to Andre, saying she was “sorry to hear” about his experience. She said it was her “understanding that this was not” the Atlanta Police Department, “but one of the many agencies working in the airport”. Bottoms then said she is “working to confirm” who was involved in the incident.

Following Bottoms’ clarification, Andre questioned what agency “interrogated” him and why Atlanta officials “allow an agency with those kinds of random search rules to operate in one of the busiest airports in the world”.

Eric Andre appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! the day after the incident (22 April) for a scheduled interview about his new film Bad Trip. But Andre used the interview to talk about his experience being racially profiled by the police. He said he was the “only brown person” in business class, and the officers were “singling me out” because it was “all white businessmen and then me”.

“She [one of the officers] starts interrogating me like what drugs do you have on you, are you transporting crystal meth to Los Angeles – like I’m Walter White from Breaking Bad,” Andre said.

He said “they’re doing like stopping for like racial profiling stop-and-frisk” before adding it was the Clayton County Police Department who were involved in the incident. Andre said he declined to have his luggage searched and was allowed to move on.

When he was able to board his plane, he joked that he “got really woke” and started tweeting various authorities while using the plane’s Wi-Fi. He added: “And then the mayor of Atlanta starts tweeting back at me. I’m like ‘Oh, I didn’t know that was gonna work’.”

The Clayton County Police Department disputed the events as Eric Andre recalled. In a statement, the police said Andre was never detained, handcuffed or searched during the incident.

The statement, as reported by People, claimed Andre “chose to speak with investigators during the initial encounter”. It continued: “During the encounter, Mr Andre voluntarily provided the investigators information as to his travel plans.

“Mr Andre also voluntarily consented to a search of his luggage but the investigators chose not to do so. Investigators identified that there was no reason to continue a conversation and therefore terminated the encounter.”

But Andre hit back at the statement, writing it was “sad and full of misinformation”. He added in a later tweet that he did not “volunteer to a search” or “to talk”.

“You guys flashed your badge and detained me with no probable cause except for racism,” he wrote. He added the police department was “harassing” him because of the incident.

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