Its happened again! A patron has been refused entry to a Queensland venue because of her cultural face tattoo.
Maori woman Juanita McNamara claims the Maya Mexican in Fortitude Valley refused her entry for her moko kauae tattoo which is of cultural significance.
It comes after a number of similar recent race discrimination incidents at venues in Brisbane and also on the Gold Coast.
More cultural tattoo discrimination at Brisbane venue
Ms McNamara said in the early hours of Saturday morning security staff at Maya Mexican told her the venue had a “no facial tattoos” policy.
“I calmly explained to him, you know, these are cultural, and therefore that’s against the law,” she told The Courier-Mail.
“He then said to me the manager won’t come down,” she said.
“All he said to the manager was “we have a woman down here with facial ink, I’m denying her entry” and then there was no specifics.”
Incredibly, this is the second time in a matter of months that a popular nightspot has banned Ms McNamara as a result of her tattoos.
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In April, security staff at Irish Pub Finn McCools also banned Ms McCoole for her cultural tattoos.
“Prior to arriving at Finn’s I had attended a charity event for veterans at Fortitude Valley music hall so we were all dressed up when we decided to head to the Irish pub,” Ms McNamara said.
“I go to pull out my ID but I was told I wasn’t allowed in because of my facial tattoos which they said was there policy.”
Venue management soon apologised and changed its tattoo policy to ensure it complies with anti-discrimination laws.
According to the Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race.
“And in Queensland, race includes skin colour, descent or ancestry; ethnicity or ethnic origin; and nationality and national origin,” says discrimination lawyer Stephen Dryley-Collins.
“Maori cultural face tattoos definitely meet the criteria for ancestry, ethnic origin or national origin,” he said.
Mr Dryley-Collins said he is aware of a number of recent similar cases in Queensland because of the state’s tough face tattoo laws introduced to combat organised bikie gang activity.
He’s calling for clubs, pubs and restaurants to better train their staff in discrimination laws.
In the meantime, he advised anyone experiencing similar unlawful discrimination to contact discriminationclaims.com.au for confidential expert advice about their options.
Meanwhile, Maya Mexican has apologised to Ms McNamara and blamed the incident on a communication breakdown on the night.
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