A wheelchair user has claimed she was prevented from entering a London nightclub by bouncers because the music was “too rowdy”.
Lucy Webster, a BBC journalist, was enjoying a night out at the weekend with friends when she tried to get into Aquum in Clapham.
In her summary of the incident as a series of tweets, she describes how after leaving the first bar they were at because the lift to the dance floor was broken, they went to another club, only to be turned away at the door.
According to Lucy, the bouncer confirmed that there was working lift access but it was a busy night and he just wanted to “keep her safe”, despite allowing other people into the club.
Let me tell you about what happens when you dare to go on a night out as a wheelchair user. Hold on to your hats, it's a bumpy ride…
— Lucy Webster (@Lucy_Webster_) March 25, 2019
She then pointed out that she lives in London and is used to the crowds, but a second bouncer intervened, telling Lucy the music would be “too rowdy” for her.
“They then suggested the weirdest thing where I could go in by myself to see how ‘unsuitable’ it was for me, but leave my two friends outside, one who is my carer,” she added.
Lucy Webster has cerebral palsy and requires a motorised wheelchair to move around.
She also needs a full-time carer to help her with other tasks such as cutting food, drinking from cups and other daily activities.
Lucy told Yahoo News UK: “This sort of this is not uncommon for me and to top off the night a drunken man ‘offered’ to take my wheelchair for a spin, to whom I may have said some unrepeatable things.”
She also points out that while some places label themselves as wheelchair accessible, there is sometimes one step between the street and the establishment which she cannot go over.
Her wheelchair is too heavy be lifted as it weighs 150kg even without her and consists of delicate machinery.
Lucy said: “Often people think it’s an accessibility problem, but it’s actually an attitude problem.
“People seem to think that I’m a reverse vampire, like somehow disabled people can’t go out at night.”
Terry Georgiou, manager of Aquum, said: “We do not tolerate any form of discrimination against any individual or group.
“We operate a non-discriminatory policy and we place a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
“Accordingly, we take any complaint of discrimination very seriously and will thoroughly investigate the matter and take the necessary actions to ensure that such an incident never happens again.”