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Woman Calls Aussie Nightclub 'Racist' For Refusing Her Entry Over Her Cultural Face Tattoos

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Woman Calls Aussie Nightclub 'Racist' For Refusing Her Entry Over Her Cultural Face Tattoos

A Brisbane nightclub has come under fire after it barred a Papuan-Australian from entering their Fortitude Valley venue due to her cultural face tattoos.

Moale James, 23, was out celebrating her boyfriend's birthday in the Valley when Latin American bar Hey Chica! refused her entry due to her reva reva.

That's the traditional name for her facial tattoos, which are important traditional markings in her mother's Papua New Guinean village of Gaba Gaba.

The 23-year-old told the ABC that she had expected this to happen eventually, but it still hurt to be discriminated against over the traditional markings of her ancestors.

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Credit: Moale James/Facebook.
Credit: Moale James/Facebook.

"[The security guard at Hey Chica!] looks at my licence, then he looks at me and he says, 'I can't let you in because of your face,'" the 23-year-old told the ABC.

"I've received discrimination before for my marks, but not to the extent of being refused entry."

She has since called out Hey Chica! on social media for their 'discriminatory and racist' actions.

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The bar replied to her complaint via a private message, but instead of apologising for the incident they chose to double-down on their policy.

"We are sorry to hear of your experience," the message reads.

"While we appreciate that our rule has caused you unintended distress, we do enforce a blanket policy that prohibits head and face tattoos at Hey Chica! along with other conditions of entry."

The bar added: "While we understand this is a strict policy, we will continue to enforce this under the Liquor Act."

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The policy the bar is referring to is Queensland's Serious and Organised Crime Legislation Amendment Act.

Credit: Moale James/Facebook.
Credit: Moale James/Facebook.

The policy, introduced by the Palaszczuk Government in 2016, polices what colours, clothes, or insignias people can or can't wear inside of licensed venues.

It was implemented specifically to target bikie gangs like the Hell's Angels and the Fourth Reich.

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The Act does not ban facial tattoos like Moale's from licensed venues.

"It's 2022," she said. "It's not OK to just assume that this one blanket rule can cover everybody with a tattoo. It's ridiculous."

The 23-year-old received her reva reva last month to mark her university graduation.

"All of my marks signify a different moment in my life," she said. "I wear the marks of my ancestors on my body ... they identify who I am."

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Hell's Angels. Credit: Enigma / Alamy Stock Photo
Hell's Angels. Credit: Enigma / Alamy Stock Photo

A spokesperson for Queensland's Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) told the ABC it did not regulate dress codes in licensed venues, except for prohibited items associated with identified criminal organisations.

"Licensees may also refuse entry to a person for any other reason provided doing so is not in contravention of discrimination laws," the spokesman told the ABC.

"A patron has an ability to take a matter to the Queensland Human Rights Commission if they feel they have been personally affected by discrimination."

Featured Image Credit: Moale James/Facebook. Hey Chica!

Topics: News, Australia, Racism

Rachel Lang
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