A popular nightclub in London's West End has come under fire after it was alleged to have refused a group of women entry on the grounds that they were "dark" and "overweight". Zalika Miller alleged she and her friends were not allowed into the nightclub, despite having spoken with a promoter who promised them a table. She claimed the group were also asked to send photographs of themselves to the promoter before they arrived.
"Prior to us actually getting to the club, the [promoter] wanted pictures of the girls that my friend was going to bring," Miller told The Voice. "He basically said if she was going to bring black girls then they've got to be of 'a certain calibre'. She sent him pictures of me and another girl that was coming and I guess he gave his approval."
When they arrived at the nightclub on Saturday (26 September), the women claim two of their group, Reisha and Tasha, were asked to stand against a wall across the street so the manager could look at them. They were then allegedly told they were "overweight" and "too dark".
"They told us to stand across the road from the club so they could see if we looked presentable and if they would let us in," Reisha told IBTimes UK. "The promoter then texted [my friend] from inside the club to say we couldn't get in because we were overweight and too dark."
Miller began tweeting about her ordeal the following morning, posting screenshots of the WhatsApp conversation with the nightclub promoter. They indicate the promoter was allegedly told by the club manager that two of the girls were "overweight" and could not enter. The promoter then messaged the women to say the club only wanted to let in the "two mixed-raced girls", but quickly followed by writing: "This isn't about race. Dstrkt isn't a racist club." He told them to go to Café de Paris, another nightclub, where the women would "definitely get in".
After the screenshots were posted on social media, one of the women received a message from the promoter. The message once again indicated at the fact that the women were turned away from the nightclub for being "overweight", writing: "If two girls are overweight to get in the club, that's how it is."
A protest took place outside the nightclub on Tuesday night (29 September), where women held up a sign that read: '#DoILookDstrkt?' By Wednesday morning (30 September), the nightclub's name was trending in the UK as hundreds took to Twitter to rage against it, with many claiming they had experienced similar treatment there.
The women involved in the incident were also contacted by a woman who claimed she has worked for the nightclub and experienced racism as well. A male club promoter also tweeted about allegedly being told by Dstrkt not to bring "fat" girls to the club. Many have taken over the club's Facebook page, accusing Dstrkt of being racist.
Reisha said the women were approached by staff as they protested outside the club and told Dstrkt was not racist and denied the allegations being made against it. However, the women were not easily convinced. "It's all too late for that," she said. "We've got evidence. We know what was said, we know what's true, we know what's false.
"A lot of people just couldn't believe that this sort of thing occurs in 2015. It's actually disgusting and the thing is a lot of people go there. It's ridiculous. We want to make it known that it's not acceptable that you need to look a certain way or be a certain way to get into Dstrkt. Black is beautiful."
Model Karrueche Tran hosted an event at the nightclub on the same night the women held their protest. She told BBC Newsbeat the incident was "unfortunate" but her club night went ahead despite calls to boycott it. Dstrkt's website refers to the club being a "playground renowned across the globe" and boasts celebrity customers such as Kim Kardashian, Jay Z, Rihanna and Drake.
IBTimes UK contacted the nightclub but it declined to comment on the allegations.