40-year old Tatiana Denson , who previously ran for Florida House of Representatives, faced a new challenge when she arrived at PNC Bank last August.
What We Know:
- Denson was at the Tampa location of the bank to open a business checking account for her newest venture, Tatiana Denson Brands, a talent management agency she started that almost took her out financially. “That business checking account was more than just a business checking out. It was going to be the economic step I needed for me to get to the next level,” Denson stated.
- However, the branch manager she met with immediately started a “humiliating” interrogation, asking questions like “Why did you set up your business this way? “Why would the IRS give you a letter?” while examining over the articles of incorporation she had her lawyer prepare for the meeting, she said.
- After the manager began to ask what “kind of people” the talent agency managed and what genre of music they would explore, she requested to speak with a different representative.
- That is when everything got even more heated — the manager refused to get a new representative and told her to leave his office or he would call the police. He even snatched Denson’s phone as she tried to record the incident. Denson then said he proceeded to shout out to the lobby, “Someone call 9-1-1!”
- Last week, Denson filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against PNC Bank last week due to the incident. “It was like I was having an out of body experience. I had to ask myself, is this really happening? I was more than humiliated. Do you think he would’ve called the police on a young, white girl who was opening a bank account?” asked Denson.
- Denson’s lawyer, Yechezkel Rodal, stated “I don’t refer to it as racism. It’s an implicit racial bias and a lot of studies [have] been done on this, especially in the law enforcement context where it’s not overt racism and it’s even worse,” Rodal told theGrio. He plans on using the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1866, Section 1981 to represent Denson.
- The act ensure citizens of African descent have “the same right that a white citizen has to make and enforce contracts” and prohibits discrimination based on race.
- After she sent a complaint to PNC Bank about the August 28, 2018 incident, company client relations manager Matthew Peterman sent Denson a letter on March 13, 2019, stating that she “became irate” during the conversation, was not allowed to record in the bank branch and “race was not a factor” in the incident.
- PNC Bank issued a statement to TheGrio in response to the lawsuit stating: “We currently are in the process of reviewing the facts of this case.”
Hopefully, Denson gets the justice she deserves.