Social media influencer and musician Baby Storme, 22, claims that Citibank racially profiled her.
In a viral video she posted on TikTok on March 22, the Los Angeles-based TikToker claims she attempted to deposit a $30,000 check from her father at Citibank to pay her rent for the rest of the year. The bank teller at the Los Angeles Citibank branch on Sunset Boulevard allegedly confiscated her check and stated the bank could not verify it.
Baby Storme — real name, Janice Mofus — has 1.2 million followers on TikTok and 53,300 followers on Instagram.
In her Spotify bio, Baby Storme describes herself as an alternative songstress and self-taught pianist. She rose to fame in 2019 with the release of her first single, “Over Again.” She was born in Manhattan and raised in Yonkers.
“So tell me why I literally never experienced what I just experienced. I’m not the kind of person to come on here crying,” Storme said on the TikTok video that has received some 30 million views. “My dad sent me a check to pay off my rent for the next year, and that’s it, and I go into Citibank to cash the check so I can pay my rent, and they confiscate my check and refuse to give it back.”
In a later video Baby Storme said she has been a CitiBank customer for five years and she was not trying to cash the check, she just wanted to deposit it into her account. She said she told the teller she wanted to deposit the check. She stressed that she was not trying to cash the check for money, she wanted the $30,000 to be deposited.
You can hear her interaction with the bank teller in separate video footage. She suggests the teller call her father to verify the check, which the teller refuses.
Baby Storme asked for her check back and said she plans to deposit the funds at another bank. The bank teller continued to deny her request. Baby Storme then accused the bank teller of racial profiling.
“Do you confiscate everyone’s checks who comes in here that you can’t verify?” Storme asked in the video. The bank teller responded, “No.”
In the video, a man who was not the teller can be heard telling Baby Storme that they are keeping her check for “further investigation.” She replied: “You don’t wanna cash the check because it’s a $30,000 check, and I’m Black.”
When Baby Storme informed the teller she is being recorded, the teller demands that she delete the footage and threatened to call the police.
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In another video, another bank employee closed the bank gate to lock Baby Storme inside while they called the police.
Later, Baby Storme said she was allowed to leave and was given her check back.
Baby Storme said she plans to sue the bank. “Guess who is suing Citibank?” she said in a follow-up video.
“We have spoken with Janice Mofus and are working closely with her to resolve the issue in question,” Citibank told L.A. Weekly. “We are taking this matter very seriously and have launched a thorough investigation into what transpired.”
This incident comes on the heels of “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler being mistaken for a bank robber by a Bank of America when he went to the bank to withdraw $12,000 from his own account. Before he knew it, Coogler was in handcuffs and accused of bank robbery.
Coogler wound up being detained by police in Atlanta on Jan. 7 after he was mistaken for a bank robber at a Bank of America, according to a police report filed on March 9.