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‘No fat girls’ puts nightclubs in spotlight


Muzique’s ‘no fat girls allowed’ caveat comes as no surprise to industry insiders

MONTREAL – Although a Montreal nightclub is distancing itself from an invitation on its Facebook page that specified “NO FAT GIRLS ALLOWED!!!!!!!!!!” people familiar with the local party scene say clubs regularly -if not so overtly -discriminate based on looks.

“Everybody knows. (Clubs) are selective,” said Stefano Apostolakos, owner of SMAN Productions, a Montreal promotions company.

A nightclub that wants to attract a certain kind of crowd will never openly turn people away based on weight, he said, but if people don’t fit in with the club’s look, a bouncer can still find some excuse to turn them away -whether it’s a long wait time, an expensive bottle service fee or claiming the club is at capacity.

“(Discrimination) comes with the right to refuse entrance,” Apostolakos said in an interview.

Nightclubs can openly turn people away based on age or dress by setting age minimums or dress codes, he explained.

The invitation was posted last week on the Facebook page of Muzique, a posh nightclub on St. Laurent Blvd., and included the ban on “fat girls,” followed by the emoticon of a winking smiley face.

The party was to celebrate the birthday of one of the club’s partners on Saturday. The invitation was taken down on the weekend.

“When I saw it, I freaked out. I was livid,” said one plus-size woman who received the message as a member of Muzique’s Facebook group.

Speaking on condition that her name not be used, the woman said her weight has never stopped her from going out -but she won’t be visiting Muzique if it discriminates against people who are overweight.

The management at Muzique said the comment was an accident and they are thinking of posting an apology.

“We didn’t even realize (the comment) was there until a couple of days ago, and it was too late to retract it because the event had already happened,” said John Jay, who oversees communication and marketing for Muzique.

Jay says it was the party planners who posted the event invitation, not himself or the owners.

He added that a friend of the club’s partner thought it would be funny to add the line to the event invitation as “an inside joke.”

“It was taken down as soon as we found out about it,” Jay said. “It was not an intentional thing. It was actually an accident. It was someone thinking he was funny.

“We don’t think it’s funny at all.”

After the invitation went up, a handful of Facebook users expressed their disapproval. One user copied and emailed the event listing and the comments to The Gazette before they were taken off the Internet.

“I found it immature and ridiculous,” Joanelle Dufresne told the Gazette in an email. She posted a reaction to the invitation on Saturday.

Another Facebook user wrote: “Is there going to be a weight scale at the entrance? What’s the maximum weight to get in? Frankly, I thought I had seen everything until now.”

Shant Kojakian, who owns the Montreal promotions company Look Kool, said weight is not much of an issue at nightclubs.

Race tends to be more of a factor when it comes to selecting people at the entrance, Kojakian said, adding that he’s never seen a bouncer tell a potential customer he or she was too fat to get in.

Of course, nightclubs want to attract a certain kind of clientele -people who are well-dressed and will spend money inside, Apostolakos and Kojakian said.

“They’ll never tell you you can’t come in because of your looks,” Apostolakos said.

“But at the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to, usually. … It’s the sad truth.”