The actor, whose family is originally from the Dominican Republic, said that he, his sister and a group of friends were refused entry to the ‘caseta' – the marquees which serve as private party venues during the annual feria – by bouncers at around 4am on Sunday..
He complained that he was told that he and those in his group didn't have an entry stamp while observing that this had not been a problem for others.
But after being recognised as an actor, he and his sister were allowed in and were reportedly offered an apology by the manager of the caseta run by Maná, a cocktail bar and restaurant in the city.
However, Shephard decided to take a stand against what he believes was racial discrimination and made a police complaint alleging that “up to 15 black or Latino looking people were refused entry”.
He said he felt compelled to do so as this sort of discrimination was a common occurance against ethnic minorities in Spain.
aquí, en la feria de màlaga poniéndoles una hojita de reclamaciones al local MANÁ por racismo descarado pic.twitter.com/esaIOBv4Uy— anun (@Sscopeta) August 14, 2016
He posted the “denunica” on twitter and has received a swell of public support, including a message from Malaga's mayor.
Francisco de la Torre, the PP mayor of Malaga condemned the “demonstration of xenophobia” insisting that it was “an isolated incident” and invited the actor to a meeting on Monday.
He apologised for what happened because “Malaga is a very open, friendly and hospitable city, where people from many other countries and of any race feel comfortable".
The club issued a statement denying “racial discrimination” and insisting that the group were turned away solely because the caseta was already full to capacity.
“It's a ridiculous accusation because even the bouncers at the door are black,” said a statement from Maná.
Grupo Maná.— maná (@manaesmana) August 15, 2016
COMUNICADO OFICIAL. pic.twitter.com/aSCOCGEAHC