Danny Glover is an acclaimed actor who has starred in some of Hollywood's biggest films. But he still finds it hard to get a taxi to pick him up on New York City's streets.
Glover believes he has difficulty getting cab service because of the color of his skin. He also says he has gotten rude treatment from drivers who have picked him up. So on Wednesday, the black actor filed a formal complaint with the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and urged better diversity training for drivers.
"The breaking point was to stand outside on 116th Street and have five cabs pass me up," Glover said at a news conference outside TLC offices. "I was so angry."
Standing with his daughter, Mandisa, a senior at New York University, he added: "The fact that my daughter's here to go to school, it really upsets me that if she's standing on the corner waiting to get a cab, she can't get a cab...it happens to her, it happens to countless people every single day. The fact that I'm a celebrity, the fact that I'm visible, allows me to draw attention to this."
The 52-year-old actor has starred in numerous movies, including the Lethal Weapon series and The Color Purple. He lives in San Francisco but visits New York frequently.
Glover is not the first black person to complain of taxi bias. In 1994, David Dinkins, the city's first black mayor, described watching a cab pass him by only to stop nearby to pick up a white passenger.
"It happened to me before I was mayor, and it happened to me since," Dinkins said in a phone call Wednesday. "I know many people to whom it has happened."
Glover's lawyer, Randolph Scott-McLaughlin, said they plan to meet with TLC officials to discuss having new cabbies meet with ordinary black New Yorkers as part of their training, and to help the TLC develop a new training video.
"I think it's a positive way to go," Glover said.
The TLC made no commitment in response to Glover's offer.
One day of new cab driver training is already devoted to "sensitivity training," which includes discussions of prejudices and explanations of the rules and penalties for refusing fares.