Last week, Alexa Jay and Ella Halikas visited the Highlight Room in LA with friends, but as they reached the door, they were barred entry. In their TikTok video, they explain that they got to the front of the queue where the “bouncer puts the rope in front, looks me up and down and says ‘Yeah, not tonight’.”
They then explain that this was nothing new for them, and sparked conversation on the platform where other women came forward under the #NotTonight hashtag to share their stories of the “one night” at the club that they will never forget.
“I’ve never tried to get into big city clubs because I was afraid of this happening to me,” says one user. “Thank you!! As a plus size women I often feel that up and down look and you are right it is not right. I really appreciate you speaking out,” says another.
The pair made a video encouraging women to speak out with their stories, saying that the tepid response from the club was not good enough, and they want “real change.” “We want you to stitch this video with the #NotTonight and share your story now so we can get this out.”
The original video has garnered 1.2 million views, and the hashtag has 119 million views, with women of all different sizes coming forward in support.
They go on to acknowledge their privilege as models but want to do it for those who aren’t comfortable speaking out. “For that girl or that person who’s bigger who doesn’t have a voice and doesn’t have a following or model friends,” Halikas said.
Women in the comments on the video detail how the Highlight Room in LA has done this before. “I had the same experience there,” a user says, another adding, “they did this when I went. I thought it was just me. It’s not good enough. Thanks for speaking out.”
They are yet to apologise following the backlash. Comments on the Instagram page are also flooded with #NotTonight, and Yelp reviews have 1-star ratings that call them out on their behaviour and attitude.
An additional video was made by the two models exposing the club for deleting reviews and disabling comments. “Thank you guys for speaking up in support,” she says after revealing the company was releasing generalised statements about approaching Halikas and Jay on the behaviour they had to endure.
But despite the club’s lack of response, the support for the girls’ TikTok videos, and the pace at which #NotTonight is moving, shows that fatphobia will not be tolerated and that institutions like this will continue to be called out for their discrimination.