“I was definitely the biggest in the group,” Jay said in the clip, “waiting to meet up with the promoter.”
Jay went on to say that as the group of women filed into the club with the promoter, the bouncer stopped Jay and Halikas from going in, allegedly telling them: “Yeah, not tonight.”
Jay said she clarified to the bouncer that the two were with the group he had just let into the club and claimed he kept looking them “up and down” before telling them again “not tonight.”
“At that point, it was extremely apparent what was going on,” Jay said. “I was being discriminated against [because] of the size of my body.”
“We’re tired of playing safe and we’re tired of just letting this happen and not speaking up about it,” Halikas added. “It is not OK.”
Halikas told In The Know that she and Jay decided to share the story on TikTok because the situation and issue went beyond their personal experience at this particular club.
“This is an issue that so many women are facing every single day all across the country, and no one else is speaking out about it,” she explained. “We hope to be the change that we wish to see, and that we can carry on this conversation of discrimination against women across the board.”
“I said to my friend if it’s not me being discriminated against because I’m Black, it’s because I’m curvy,” Jay added in the TikTok. “When does this end? Like, when does it end?”
Tao Group Hospitality, which owns the Highlight Club in addition to popular clubs Tao, Lavo and Marquee, said in a statement that they were aware of the situation and reached out to apologize to Jay and Halikas. As of Oct. 27, it appears the Highlight Club disabled comments on its Instagram account.
“They have tried to contact us both in the beginning in a very insincere way, with a copy-and-paste direct message on Instagram,” Halikas confirmed. “Once I saw that, I realized they weren’t taking this issue seriously enough and that they just wanted to put a lid over this situation.”
Halikas has a combined following of over 700,000 on TikTok and Instagram and has modeled for huge publications like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She even joked about being a successful model and being turned away from the Highlight Club in a recent TikTok filmed in Hawaii for her latest shoot.
“I would be doing a major disservice to so many women out there that experience this who don’t have a voice,” she added to In The Know. “This issue was bigger than them not letting us into their club.”
Countless commenters came in to support Halikas and Jay and shared similar experiences — which Halikas said “broke her heart.”
“The reaction has shown me that there are way too many people out there that can relate to our story,” she said. “I feel as if we need to be the voice for so many others that may not have one.”
Sizeism or weight discrimination is described as one of the most deeply ingrained stigmas in U.S. culture. Studies have found that sizeism is mostly directed toward women and those with multiple stigmatized identities, particularly members of the LGBTQ community.
There are only a few protective laws and policies against weight discrimination in the U.S. — as of March 2022, only the state of Michigan and the cities San Francisco, Madison, Wis., and Urbana, Ill., have actual bans against workplace discrimination based on weight. Every state has anti-bullying laws for schools, but only three states list “weight” as a reason students can be at risk for bullying — despite the fact that there is evidence that weight-based bullying is common in schools.
“There’s power in numbers and using all of our voices to stand up together,” Halikas continued. “We’ve created the hashtag #NOTTONIGHT for people to join this movement and share their similar experiences with the world. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but instead these clubs and bouncers are the ones that should be ashamed and embarrassed for their behavior.”
The post Models claim popular L.A. club turned them away because of their size appeared first on In The Know.
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