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NYC Hotel Worker Files Lawsuit After Unhinged Guest Hurls Racial Slurs At Her And Assaults Her

Linda Shell via New York Post video

*Content Warning: This article contains discussion of racist violence and a video of a (censored) racist outburst.*

Videos of very public racist meltdowns aren’t a new phenomenon in the age of the internet and the mini computers with cameras that everyone carries around in their pockets, but a recent video captured by the target of the outburst is getting viral attention, and hopefully leading to successful litigation for the victim.

When Michelle Rajacic walked into the City Club Hotel in Manhattan and demanded a new room key, she probably expected to be obeyed without question. But the hotel has policies in place to protect guests and their belongings so Linda Shell, who was working behind the desk, asked to see Rajacic’s ID.

Instead of simply complying and getting her room key so she could go to bed—it was after midnight—Rajacic proceeded to subject Shell to a litany of insults and profanity for daring to do her job.

Among the plethora of insults, Rajacic made sure to hit all of the squares on the “how to be as offensive as possible” bingo card. She insulted Shell’s race, appearance, upbringing, job performance, and personal hygiene, along with other random profanity.

She also proceeded to spit on Shell and allegedly hit her so hard with her cell phone that the device broke.

After the supremely stunning display of entitlement and bigotry, Rajacic is being sued by the target of her racist, classist, misogynistic, and profanity-filled outburst and physical assault.

Shell’s testimony contained in the lawsuit filing describes the actions she took to attempt to remove Rajacic from the premises, and the results that followed.

“After, she kept spitting. I was getting more upset, because that is the lowest thing you can do to someone. I said, ‘OK, ma’am, it’s time for you to go’.”

Shell added:

“I grabbed her arm and started leading her to the front desk. She then broke her cellphone across my face.”

The lawsuit phrased the incident a little more clinically, but the impact is still there.

“Defendant spit on Plaintiff and then assaulted, battered, and attacked the Plaintiff, and used physical force without cause or justification and without Plaintiff’s consent.” 

According to the lawsuit, Rajacic was arrested for the assault and charged with, and convicted of, 3rd degree assault in criminal court.

Instead of backing their employee after the incident, City Club Hotel provided the assailant with a free room upon her release from police custody. This was the last straw for Shell, who resigned from the hotel immediately out of disgust and concern for her own safety.

“I told them I could no longer work there, because my safety is no longer important to them.”

Joshua Barbee, General manager of City Club Hotel, denied any involvement.

“This is the first we are learning of this litigation. The claims being made regarding the hotel are completely incorrect. With that said, since this is pending litigation, we will have no further comment.” 

Shell’s video of the incident is embedded below, viewer discretion is advised.

Shell’s attorney, John Tate, told The New York Post:

“While Ms. Shell demonstrated noble restraint in the face of such bigotry, what she was forced to endure should not, and will not, be tolerated. We will fight to ensure that Ms. Rajacic is held to account for her actions.”

This red hat is available here.


Written by Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters

Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters is a writer/web designer and aspiring librarian based in Northern Maine. When not writing or in class, they devote much of their time to multiple non-profit organizations, largely focusing on LGBTQ+ rights and animal welfare. During rare moments of free time Winona enjoys video and tabletop games, as well as various nerdy fiber crafts such as crocheting (mainly amigurumi Pokémon, cat toys, and blankets) and counted cross stitch.