Four Tops singer Alexander Morris files racial discrimination suit against Detroit area hospital

Alexander Morris joined the legendary Motown group, the Four Tops, in 2018. He is presently the lead singer. At a press conference Tuesday, he announced a racial discrimination lawsuit against Ascension’s Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Michigan, in the Detroit metropolitan area. The charges arise over an event that occurred in April 2023 when Morris attempted to get medical care for chest pain and breathing difficulty, and was instead straitjacketed, humiliated  and held against his will.

Ascencion's Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Michigan [Photo: Ascension]

The hospital attendants consistently refused to believe Morris when he identified himself as a member of the singing group. When Morris offered to prove his identity, a security guard allegedly told him to sit his “black ass” down. He was then straitjacketed and prevented from leaving, supposedly pending a psychiatric examination.

His wife arrived at the hospital some time later. “After that,” according to CBS News, “a nurse arrived, and Morris asked if he could show her a video of him performing at the Grammy Awards.”

“‘The nurse realized Plaintiff was a member of the Four Tops, and the nurse went and got the emergency room doctor to inform him,’ the lawsuit said. ‘The emergency room doctor returned and said he was canceling the psychological evaluation.’”

The singer was allegedly restrained for 90 minutes. He never received the cardiac treatment he came in for.

As Morris described it: “In February, I was performing at (the Grammys at an event) honoring Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson. Two months later, I’m in a (straitjacket) in the city I grew up in, my identity being denied and I’m being told that I’m insane or schizophrenic.”

The Four Tops in 2023 [Photo: Grammy Awards 2023]

The lawsuit has been filed against the hospital and two of its employees. The security guard is alleged to have a history of patient abuse. According to the suit, “None of the nursing staff intervened to stop the racial discrimination and mistreatment.”  The staff is accused of taking the singer, who had a history of heart issues, off oxygen while they waited for a psychiatric examination.

Remarkably, the Four Tops’ founding members, Levi Stubbs, Renaldo Benson, Abdul Fakir and Lawrence Payton performed together from 1953 until 1997. They became one of the staple acts of Motown records in the mid-1960s and were critical in the creation of the specific Motown sound.

The group has released 27 studio albums, two live albums and countless hit singles.

The foursome was known for “Baby I Need your Loving,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” “Bernadette,” “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got),” “When She Was My Girl” and many more.

Morris was asked to join the group in 2018 by Fakir, its only surviving member.