A British woman has gone viral on social media after claiming she was discriminated against by the staff at a trendy London nightclub for being "a bigger girl" in a "revealing" outfit.
In a video that has since amassed almost three million views on TikTok, Katie Haywood claimed she suffered "first-hand discrimination" by staff at the swanky club MNKY HSE in Mayfair, an upscale and affluent area in the West End of London.
In the clip, Haywood explained that she and her friends had gone to the club-cum-restaurant for a 21st birthday over the weekend and had all "dressed up nice" for the occasion.
Haywood proceeded to show viewers the exact outfit she had worn for the celebration; a pink crop top teamed with a midriff-baring, wrap-around patterned skirt, heels, and a matching pink handbag by the popular luxury brand Jacquemus.
Haywood claimed that when she approached the door, a security guard - who was a woman - informed her that she couldn't enter the club dressed "like that" and would need to change her outfit.
Haywood, who argued she had nothing else to wear, pressed the security guard as to why her outfit wasn't considered acceptable attire for the venue, to which she allegedly told her, "There's a lot of Arab families in here, you can't be coming in here dressed like that" - implying that Haywood's outfit could be considered offensive to Arab patrons.
In most Arab or Middle Eastern countries, travellers are typically advised to follow traditional etiquette by dressing modestly, with women urged to cover the chest and shoulders as well as their legs. Women are also often told to wear head scarves at temples or places of worship.
Thankfully, Haywood had fashioned a dress into her wrap-around skirt and was able to rework the outfit to provide more coverage. However, when the young woman told the security guard she felt "awkward" reconfiguring her outfit in front of fellow clubgoers, she allegedly responded: "What's awkward is you're dressed like you're going to a beach."
Haywood said she was escorted to the venue's toilets to make the necessary adjustments, but was closely watched by staff as she left the bathroom - making her feel like an "inmate".
"At that point I was a bit shocked," Haywood said. "I went and sat down at the bar with my friends to wait for our table.
"They came back over 10 minutes later and expected me to put on this denim jacket they had found to cover me."
Haywood argued that she was "covering everything" but conceded and attempted to put on the jacket; however, she felt even more humiliated when she realised the outerwear didn't fit. She claimed she asked the staff if she could put the jacket over her shoulders instead, but they insisted that she wear it.
The young woman noted that despite her friends also wearing revealing outfits, she was seemingly targeted by both the security and staff - which she puts down to being the "bigger girl" in the group.
"One of my friends had a mesh dress on. You could see her bra and pants and my other friend had her stomach on show, but it was only a problem with mine because I'm a bigger girl," she said.
"I looked around and everyone around me had low... tops on and a bit of cleavage showing. But they were all petite girls so I guess there was no issue. I was the only thicker person there and it was an issue."
When Haywood attempted to remove the jacket due to the heat, she was allegedly approached again.
"It's just awkward now," she recounted. "After that no one said anything around me and I just didn't know what to do. I don't even want to be here and give this place my money."
When her friend eventually complained to the club's management, they were offered "free food" as compensation for the distress Haywood endured, she said.
The woman's story has since sparked an overwhelming response on social media, with hundreds of viewers flocking to the comments to show their support and shower her in compliments.
"Sounds like she was trying to humiliate you. So sorry you had to deal with that," one said, with a second adding: "I wouldn't choose that [outfit] for a dinner/restaurant HOWEVER you do look beautiful! I'm sorry you got treated that way."
"That makes me fuming!! You're so beautiful and how you're dressed shouldn't judge on where you can and can't go [sic]," a third commented.
"Thing is, if she was stick thin they wouldn't have said anything. Your outfit was cute," another declared.
However, not everyone sided with Haywood, with a number of viewers agreeing with MNKY HSE and noting that upscale venues tend to have dress codes for patrons.
"The lady handed the situation wrong, she should've treated you all equally, but I understand the outfit's a bit inappropriate if it's a… restaurant," one opined, with a second agreeing: "It's a good outfit but deffo gives off more rave/[festival] vibes, maybe that's why - but they should have handled it better and not been so rude."
"You look like you're going swimming," another said bluntly, with several others agreeing the outfit was better suited to a beach than a bar-cum-restaurant.
"The outfit was not appropriate for a restaurant… but it's the fact that you were made to feel uncomfortable and singled out. That's just not okay," another added.
Responding to the feedback, Haywood reiterated that her friends had been wearing similar outfits but she was the only one to be "out right victimised and harassed".
"For everyone saying the outfit wasn't appropriate; I'm trying to get at how the situation was handled. And the fact my friends and others [were] wearing similar outfits," she commented.
A fellow TikToker has even shared their own clip responding to Haywood's story, saying: "Listen babe, what you were wearing, you looked banging.
"Don't let f***ing idiots like this put you off. They're only hating."