Four Tops Singer Sues A Michigan Hospital For Racial Discrimination

Alexander Morris, the lead singer of renowned Motown group the Four Tops, filed a lawsuit against a Michigan hospital on Monday, alleging that staff racially discriminated against him, physically restrained him for over an hour and denied him proper health care.

Morris went to Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital on April 7 because he was having chest pains and trouble breathing, according to the lawsuit, which was submitted in a Michigan federal court and first uncovered by academic and journalist Seamus Hughes. The hospital and two of its staffers, a nurse and a security guard, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Morris, who has a history of cardiac disease and was on oxygen at the time, told a nurse and a security guard that he was concerned about fans and stalkers finding him at the hospital because he was a member of the Four Tops, the lawsuit says.

Not long after he was checked in, an emergency room doctor ordered that Morris stop receiving oxygen, had him placed in a restraining jacket and requested a psychological evaluation of him. When Morris asked if he could show his ID to prove his identity, the lawsuit claims a security guard told him to “sit his Black ass down.”

Morris began to have trouble breathing and asked to be put back on oxygen, but the lawsuit says employees ignored his request. He also asked for his personal items and said he wanted to leave the hospital to seek care elsewhere.

Instead, the lawsuit alleges, he remained restrained, and more security guards surrounded him.

Morris’ wife eventually arrived at the hospital and said her husband was a member of the Four Tops. A nurse asked Morris to show her proof that he had recently performed at the Grammy Awards. Once she had seen a video, she contacted the ER doctor, who canceled the psychological evaluation, the lawsuit says.

Morris alleges he was restrained for about 90 minutes.

According to the lawsuit, the singer was offered a $25 supermarket gift card as an apology, but Morris did not accept it.

He “received a deliberate misdiagnosis and received a lower standard of medical care based on his race that amounted to racial discrimination and delayed his actual diagnosis,” reads the lawsuit, which notes that Morris “was ultimately diagnosed with a heart infraction that may require a heart transplant, pneumonia, and he suffered three seizures during his stay.”

A security guard later reached out to Morris and said that hospital employees had attempted to falsify a report about the incident, according to the lawsuit.

“The health, safety and well-being of our patients, associates and community members remains our top priority. We remain committed to honoring 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,” a spokesperson for the hospital said in a statement Tuesday.

The Four Tops were a hugely successful Detroit-based music group in the 1960s and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Morris, who isn’t an original member of the group, replaced Harold “Spike” Bonhart as lead singer in 2019.