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Queensland nightclub Hey Chica! deny Moale James entry over Papuan cultural reva reva face tattoos

A young woman has targeted a nightclub for being ‘racist’ after being refused entry due to her cultural facial tattoos.

Moale James, 23, who is of Papua New Guinean descent, celebrated her partner’s birthday Sunday morning by going to Brisbane’s nightclub in Fortitude Valley.

But she soon found herself turning away from the popular Latin American club Hey Chica! after guards disagreed with her traditional tattoos.

She took to Facebook to describe her experience, beginning by saying, “One of your security guards refused to let me in last night because of my facial reva reva,”

“I’ll give you some time to respond, but I’m preparing a response to the discriminatory and racist behavior I witnessed last night. Time to answer.’

Moale James (pictured), 23, became the entrance to Hey Chica!  for her traditional facial tattoos, which she has to honor her Papua New Guinean heritage

Moale James (pictured), 23, became the entrance to Hey Chica! for her traditional facial tattoos, which she has to honor her Papua New Guinean heritage

Mrs. James had the traditional tattoo (pictured) to celebrate her Papua New Guinean heritage

Mrs. James had the traditional tattoo (pictured) to celebrate her Papua New Guinean heritage

Ms James explained, even after explaining to the bouncer that her tattoos were cultural, she was still denied entry.

On the Hey Chica! website, outline strict dress codes.

‘Dress to impress, smart casual is best, closed shoes are a must. No face, neck or hand tattoos. Entry is at the discretion of the host or door management, dress code may vary for special events. For more information on dress codes before your visit, please contact us,” it reads.

Ms James has now taken a stand and says she will speak with her local member about the ‘rule’ dictating that facial tattoos are gang-affiliated, and how it should be changed to reflect the diverse community.

She also said she expects a written apology from the audience.

In a private message to Ms James, which she shared on Facebook, the club apologized for the “unintended distress” it caused, but stuck to its policy.

Thank you for sharing your experience and for understanding that the Hey Chica! followed the procedure,” the message read.

Ms James took to Facebook calling the rule 'racist' and 'discrimination' and will now meet with her local MP to try and make a change

Ms James took to Facebook calling the rule ‘racist’ and ‘discrimination’ and will now meet with her local MP to try and make a change

In a private message to Ms James, which she shared on Facebook, the club apologized for the

In a private message to Ms James, which she shared on Facebook, the club apologized for the “unintended distress” it caused, but stuck to its policy

“While we realize that our rule has caused you unintentional distress, we maintain a general policy that prohibits head and face tattoos at Hey Chica! in addition to other access conditions. While we understand this is a strict policy, we will continue to enforce it under the Liquor Act.”

Under Queensland’s alcohol laws, venues will be punished if they fail to take reasonable steps to refuse people carrying items associated with criminal organizations, including biker gangs.

Talking to the ABCMs James said the tattoos are marks passed down through generations and come from her great-grandmother dating back to the time her village was founded.

She went on to say that the village chief asked his daughters to wear the characters and their stories on their skins, a request that has reverberated for generations.

“They have great spiritual and ancestral value to me and my community,” she said.

Ms. James said she always intended to get the facial markings as they have

Ms. James said she always intended to get the facial markings as they have “great spiritual and ancestral value.”

After being rejected from the club, Ms James said she went to see members of her community who are lawyers and found that the club can deny people entry and service – but as long as it’s not discriminatory.

“The fact that I was in a group of people who are felons, gang members, dangerous criminals, that’s not my story,” said Mrs. James.

“I went back and I said, ‘these are cultural and what are you going to do about it?’ And no response.’

Ms. James says they are just people to hear her story and change their stance on facial tattoos.

She also hopes the venue revises its policies, but at the very least educates those who made the rules to change the way they think about people wearing their marks with pride.

Hey Chica! has been contacted for comment.

Hey Chica!  say on its website that people with facial, neck or hand tattoos will be refused entry

Hey Chica! say on its website that people with facial, neck or hand tattoos will be refused entry

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