A woman has used her social media platform to call out a company for discrimination after organisers would not allow her entry to a party bus because of her weight.
On Monday, Fallon Melillo, 27, who goes by the username @curvybb on TikTok, uploaded a video in which she described her experience being discriminated against by party bus organisers because of her size during a recent trip to Miami, Florida.
In the clip, Melillo explained that, while in Miami, she and her group of friends had decided to visit Daer dayclub, so they purchased party bus tickets through a third-party service on Eventbrite that would transport them to the club’s pool party.
However, according to Melillo, the night before the 31 July pool party, she decided to read the company’s Eventbrite listing, at which point she saw a disclaimer that stated “no big girls” were allowed.
“Sorry no big girls for this party!” the since-removed listing reads. “The doorman is very strict on appearance. If you have had problems getting into exclusive clubs before then this is not for you! Please don’t waste your time nor ours thinking that we can get you inside if you know you do not meet the qualifications.”
In the video, Melillo then revealed that she and her friends reached out to Daer to check that it does not discriminate against size, which the club confirmed.
When Melillo and her friends attempted to board the party bus, however, they were denied due to her weight, an experience the 27-year-old described as “downright awful and rude and humiliating”.
“We ended up going there and they turned us away at the door because I am plus-size, as you can see, I’m bigger than the average girl, and they decided to tell us that we can’t get on the party bus,” she recalled, adding that the company did refund them but that it was “very embarrassing”.
Melillio then encouraged viewers not to use the Miami party organisers, continuing: “I really urge and hope that people do not use this service. If you see this video, I am begging you, take an Uber, look for a different company that doesn’t discriminate against marginalised bodies in society.”
Following her original TikTok, all events on the company’s Eventbrite page have been removed. However, as Melillo noted in follow-up videos, numerous other Miami-based organisers offering party bus services include similar offensive disclaimers on the site, while she also speculated that the original company may have changed its name on Eventbrite.
In one TikTok, Melillo, who said that no one has contacted her from the company, showed a similar listing posted on Eventbrite, in which the company states that a “model look is encouraged”.
“As much as we would like to welcome everyone, admission to this exclusive event is very selective and we reserve the right to deny service,” the disclaimer reads.
According to Melillo, the party bus company in question, if different, is just as guilty as the company that denied her entry, as she notes that what the disclaimer really means is “if you’re a bigger girl, they reserve the right to deny you”.
“So, what’s gonna happen is, instead of blatantly showing their discrimination online, you have to go in person to be embarrassed and denied at the door because you’re bigger and plus-size,” she said.
In the comments of her videos, many viewers have expressed their support for Melillo, while others shared their own experiences with discrimination due to size.
“Glad you shared this and I’m so sorry this happened to you. I’ve been turned away from a club for the same thing before. So messed up,” one person commented, while another said: “Wow I’m absolutely disgusted. I’m sorry you had to go through that, I’ve been there. Thank you for sharing this.”
While reflecting on the experience while speaking with BuzzFeed, Melillo acknowledged that the “culture needs to change” in destinations where “body image is important” such as Miami.
“I knew things like this may happen, but never thought it would be towards me,” she said. “This past year, I actually lost a significant amount of weight and was feeling a lot better about myself. Only to go to Miami to be ostracised. Not only Miami, but other popular places where body image is important. The culture needs to change - especially in places such as Miami, LA, and Vegas.”
Melillo also criticised companies that discriminate based on societal standards, adding: “Bigger people are human and sometimes we can’t help how we look. This does not make us any less or [give others the right to] deny services. I would like companies and businesses to accept all shapes and sizes. The denial of plus-size people in public spaces is damaging to the mental health of bigger individuals.”
The Independent has contacted Melillo and Eventbrite for comment.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies