A body positivity advocate vacationing in Miami said she was denied service at a party bus that didn’t allow plus size women.
The party bus was supposed to take Fallon Melillo and her friends from South Beach to DAER Dayclub at the Hard Rock Hotel – but as Melillo and her friends were about to board the party bus, she says she was told she couldn’t – and that an online invite she found said, "Sorry! No big girls for this party."
"I was embarrassed, humiliated, my friends made me feel better, but in that moment, I felt very small," Melillo said of the July 31 incident.
Melillo says her friend contacted a promoter, who sold them the tickets. Melillo provided NBC 6 a Venmo transaction showing she paid her friend $40 for a seat on the bus.
“The promoter asked how many girls, didn’t disclose any information or ask for pictures,” she said.
Melillo says the night before the event, she noticed a posting on Eventbrite by Spring Break Miami Party Service.
The invite read, "Sorry! No big girls for this party," adding, "The doorman is very strict on appearance ... please don’t waste your time nor ours if you don’t meet the qualifications."
“All my friends were like, no way nobody would do that,” she said. “We just went the next day.”
That’s when she says the promoter denied Melillo and her friends access to the party bus — they took an Uber instead and had no issues getting into the club.
Melillo posted about her experience on TikTok, and it went viral.
NBC 6 was able to contact a rep for Spring Break Miami Party Service – they say that the posting was written by a third party that they had contracted out to and that they don’t actually run the party bus. In a statement, they said the posting was “hurtful, offensive, inappropriate and never should’ve run in the first place.”
Melillo said since this happened, she’s found plenty of other online postings for Miami party buses encouraging a "model look" to purchase.
“So many people have experienced this weight discrimination,” she said. “The fatphobic language still remains a model look. Bigger girls, that’s the problem.”
Hard Rock, which owns the club, wrote in a statement, "DAER Nightclub/Dayclub swiftly terminated its relationship with this independent event promoter after an internal investigation … this promoter’s actions do not reflect Hard Rock’s culture of inclusivity.”
While Spring Break Miami Party Service admitted they posted the ad and now denounce it, they deny that they ever sold a ticket to Melillo.
DAER said they are offering Melillo and her friends a VIP experience.