Being a chubby girl on South Beach is a lot like having pigeon toes in a gym class full of Dwyane Wades. With all of those high-heeled model types, it's easy to feel inadequate.
Lorraine Nevot knows that feeling well. The heavyset, 27-year-old teaching assistant says Club B.E.D. turned her away from a Monday-night party because she's fat. It bothered her so much she posted an ad on Craigslist recruiting other women who've had similar experiences. She hopes to file a lawsuit. "If you're overweight or ugly, they won't let you in," she says. "I felt like crying."
The club's operations director, Nathan Forster, argues the Washington Avenue hot spot is open to everyone. "It's the doorman's discretion how we choose to represent the club... It's mostly about being dressed appropriately."
Last month, Lorraine heard about a free ladies night at the club. The place is soaked in red lighting and features musical guests such as Rick Ross and Brian McKnight. On this night, there was a free dinner. Lorraine thought it sounded fun, so she arrived early with her sister. "We were the first ones there. We were in nice dress shirts, makeup, and accessories."
(Forster contends the Monday-night dinner was open only to guests of promoters.)
A woman at the door told them it was too early to get in, so they waited. When other people arrived, the bouncer shuffled the others into the club in front of the sisters. Though they arrived first, the bouncer sent them to the back of the crowd. It happened over and over, Lorraine says.
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Finally, she confronted the door girl. "Is this because I'm overweight?" she asked. According to Lorraine, the woman responded, "I'm sorry, honey, there's nothing I can do." So Lorraine took it one step further: She called police.
Cops arrived and essentially laughed at her, she says. They termed it a civil matter and made no police report.
In the past year, B.E.D. has had one federal discrimination case filed against it. Stephen Karakis, a wheelchair-bound South Florida man, claimed he was "denied full and equal access" to the club in January. The case was later dismissed. And so far, Lorraine has gotten no response to her Craigslist ad.
Still seething, she adds, "This is discrimination."