Two women speak out after being refused entry to a popular Hollywood nightclub because of their size.
The two women, who are models and social media influencers, said it was not the first time something like this had happened to them as they tried to enter a bar or nightclub in Los Angeles.
The women shared their story on social media and say it resonates with women across the country who have experienced similar discrimination.
Ella Halikas says a bouncer told her and fellow “curvy” model Alexa Jay that they couldn’t follow their friends to The Highlight Room in Hollywood.
“(Alexa) asked him, ‘Hey, what’s going on? I’m actually with that party you just let in,’ and he said, ‘I know,’ and looked at her from up and down and said, ‘Not tonight,’ Ella said.
The women decided to share the incident on social media.
“We are tired of playing it safe. We are tired of letting this happen and not talking about it,” Ella said in an Instagram post.
“It was so dehumanizing,” Alexa said. “It was as if we were being examined. If you have experienced any type of discrimination like this you know exactly how horrible and disgusting it is and we are not letting it fly anymore.
Women believe that this problem goes beyond a nightclub.
Halikas says she has received thousands of messages from other plus-size women sharing similar stories of being turned away from bars and nightclubs.
“A plus-size friend of mine went to a club in New York and they said, ‘Anyone can come in,'” Halikas said. “They let all her skinny friends in, walked up to her and said, ‘You can’t come in.’ She asked, ‘Why?’ and he says, ‘If you want to come in, pay $4,000.’
Halikas tells me she’s body embracing and confident, enjoying her career as a swimsuit model while walking the catwalks and gracing the pages of Sports Illustrated magazine. Still, that didn’t stop her from being turned away.
“It felt like we were alone,” Halikas said. “It felt like we walked out of a crowd and I just felt like we had to share that because it wasn’t about not getting into the Highlight Room, we don’t care. C t’s the big picture of how many girls face it every day. It was discrimination – 100 per cent.
Tao Group, operator of The Highlight Room, responded to the incident saying:
“We are aware of Ella and Alexa’s experience. The doorman that night worked for a third-party promotion company and we removed this individual from the door effective immediately. We have made several attempts to resolve the issue directly with Ella and Alexa and even scheduled a meeting in the following days to discuss their experience which they unfortunately canceled. Our company does not tolerate any form of discrimination. We always welcome feedback on our operations and continue to work on how to improve the experience of our customers.
The women say they are open to meeting with the Tao group, but say they don’t believe it is enough to kick a man out. They hope to work on systemic change in the industry while inspiring and empowering other plus size women.
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