A Gold Coast woman has labelled her experience at Burleigh Pavilion “a joke” after she was denied entry because of its tattoo policy.
Katie Hally was attending the venue for her best friend’s 45th birthday on Saturday afternoon when she was turned away because she has tattoos on her upper back.
Burleigh Pavilion has a strict dress code, banning “intimidating, aggressive, or offensive tattoos”, however Hally’s ink is in the Chinese characters for “family, love, happiness”.
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“Apparently my ‘neck’ tattoos from 2010 that mean family, love and happiness are too offensive or intimidating in 2023,” Hally wrote online.
“Unless that’s offensive somehow, it doesn’t make sense.
“What a joke.”
Hally returned to the venue after running home to grab a white button-up shirt to put on over her outfit, but she was an hour and a half late to her friend’s party by then and felt as though her self-confidence had been diminished by the interaction.
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Katie Hally was denied entry to the Burleigh Pavilion over her upper back tattoos. Credit: Facebook
Hally has since received an apology for the incident, with the venue admitting she should have been let in.
“Management became aware of the incident after media reports and acknowledge that in accordance with its policy, Katie should have been welcomed into the venue,” a spokesperson for Burleigh Pavilion told 7NEWS.com.au.
“Burleigh Pavilion’s house policy is in place to create a comfortable and enjoyable environment for our guests.“
While she did receive an apology, Hally told 7NEWS.com.au she won’t return to the venue “out of principle”.
“They don’t deserve our hard-earned dollars,” she said. “There are so many other places that would be happy to have me walk in.”
While she said the dress code was fair in some regards, such as banning intimidating, aggressive or offensive tattoos, she did not agree with the placement of them prompting bans regardless of their content.
“No way should tattoos be banned,” she said. “It’s all about being whoever we, he, she, they want to be in today’s society and I love it.”
Dress code under fire
Burleigh Pavilion has previously come under fire for its dress code, after a woman with traditional Maori tattoos and British Mortal Kombat 2 actor Martyn Ford, who was sporting neck tattoos, were denied entry in the past few months.
The venue gives a detail description of its “smart casual” dress code on its website.
Guests with tattoos are welcome, it says, but “our policy does not permit intimidating, aggressive, or offensive tattoos, clothing or behaviour which may offend or intimidate other guests or staff”.
“Tattoos on the neck, head and face are viewed as increased intimidation in that order,” the venue says.
“This practice is common among licensed venues and is in place to ensure the comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.
“Covering up these tattoos does not allow entry.”
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