Curvy Sports Illustrated model says Hollywood club engaged in fat shaming

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Saturday, November 12, 2022
Fat shaming? Curvy SI model says Hollywood club denied her entry
Model Gabriella Halikas says a Hollywood bouncer denied her entry to a club because of her size.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A curve model is lashing out on her social media pages accusing a Hollywood nightclub with fat shaming.

Gabriella Halikas, who posed for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in 2021, says she and a friend were in line to get into The Highlight Room last week.

When the bouncer started letting the other people in her group inside, Halikas says he stopped her Black friend Alexa McCoy, who is also a curve model and refused to let her by.

"The promoter starts letting in the whole group of girls and right when it gets to me at the front, the bouncer puts the rope in front, looks me up and down and says, 'Yeah, not tonight,'" said McCoy.

"He looked at me and did the same thing, up and down, and was just like, 'Not tonight. Next!'' Halikas told Eyewitness News. "We're just standing there, like, 'Is this really happening?'" as he let several other people pass.

Halikas says no one else at The Highlight Room would stand up for her.

Halikas has a sizable following on social media with nearly 800,000 followers between TikTok and Instagram. She and McCoy posted their experience online and it quickly gained traction with more than a million views.

"Discrimination and fat phobia goes so, so deep in society," she said. "I'm a size 14 and that's the most average size for a woman, and yet we're still being treated like, 'No, you can't come in, or I'm not even going to look at you,' and it's dehumanizing."

Eyewitness News reached out to the company that owns The Highlight Room. A spokesperson tells us that the doorman in question has been removed from the door and that the company "does not tolerate discrimination of any kind."

It adds that Highlight Room representatives had scheduled a meeting with Halikas and McCoy to address the issue, but that the women canceled.

Halikas says she's not ready to sit down with the management, but that it's more important for her to get her message out to as many people as possible.

"Imagine the change all over the country, between all of these nightclubs and bars and restaurants that have discriminated against and gotten away with it for so long."