A violent incident at a popular Palermo bar last night has led to calls for a boycott, after several women claim they were denied entry because of their gender and sexual identity. The bar denies it but what we do know is that police were called and one of the women was arrested and incarcerated for “theft” and “damage,” accusations she vehemently denies. She was released from jail this afternoon after 16 hours behind bars.
The women claim they arrived at Belushi Bar, located on Honduras and Godoy Cruz, at around 10:30 PM to celebrate the birthday of Florencia Romero, known for being Argentina’s first female football referee. They had a reservation that was made online. Florencia was already sitting at a table inside the bar when three of her friends arrived, including two trans women. That is when the trouble started, according to Nicole Nina Loyola, one of the trans women who says she was beat up by the bar’s security.
Even though Florencia was already inside, the Belushi staff made the other women wait half an hour at the door, before telling them there had been an “error” with the reservation and would not be permitted entry. Romero told Crónica in an interview that the bar told her “the night was reserved exclusively for the women of Playboy.”
The women believe they were denied entry because of their gender and sexual orientation. “We arrived and they saw that we weren’t the kind of clientele they wanted,” Nicole told The Bubble. The bar staff repeatedly referred to the two trans women in the group using male pronouns, according to Nicole, who said their attitude toward the group was “violent.”
Belushi Bar disputes the group had a valid reservation. “We had not confirmed the reservation,” a spokesperson for the the bar told The Bubble. “We had a birthday party and an event that night.”
At this point, frustrated by the bar’s refusal to let them in, Nicole decided to go into the bar to find a manager. She says she was allowed inside. The situation then intensified and Florencia claims her phone and credit cards were stolen by staff members and that she was attacked by the club bouncer, causing a wound on her head.
Nicole says that at one point the bar appears to have gotten frustrated by her insistent questions about their refusal to let them inside a bar that was clearly far from full and they decided to kick her out by force. “I asked for an explanation and the response was a beating,” Nicole said. “They threw me against the tables, I have all the proof that they fucked me up.”
Nicole shared some photographs of the injuries she says she suffered that night with The Bubble.
The Belushi Bar spokesperson (who often used male pronouns to refer to the trans women) gave a different version of events. She alleged that, when the women were told their reservation would not be recognized, one of them forced her way into the bar and wrought havoc. “Two of them accepted the news,” she said. “The other one didn’t.” She says that a woman (who from the sounds of it was Nicole), then forced her way past staff members, attacking a staff member with a fire hydrant, breaking the plastic protection surrounding the DJ booth and shattering 30 glasses. She then escaped.
Nicole disputes every part of the bar’s version of events and says she went to a police station today to file a formal complaint against the bar and enter photos of her injuries as proof. “If they’re so convinced about their claims why haven’t they filed a complaint against me?” Nicole asked.
There is one thing the bar spokeswoman and Nicole do agree on: Florencia, who wound up in jail, wasn’t the woman who caused any trouble at the bar. “This girl [Florencia], who is a girl, was left behind, was detained because the police decided to arrest her,” said the Belushi Bar spokesperson, apparently making a distinction between Florencia and the trans women who had accompanied her.
After she was released from jail, Florencia told Crónica that “they [the police] basically kidnapped me. There were a huge number of irregularities.”
Late in the afternoon, Belushi issued a statement via Twitter saying that “in 9 years” in business “we have never discriminated.” They say “a person entered by force … destroying everything that was within reach … We regret this sad situation.”
— Belushi Martini Bar (@BelushiBar) October 27, 2016
The incident has caused outrage on Twitter, where many are calling for a boycott of Belushi Bar.
— Leandro López (@Chengoleh) October 27, 2016
“We have to stop going to Belushi Bar.”
— roxe (@roxepais) October 27, 2016
“We don’t ever have to go to Belushi Bar again! Spread the word around in social media!!!”
Estoy muy a favor del consenso generalizado de no ir nunca más a @BelushiBar.
— Ignacio Guebara (@iGuebara) October 27, 2016
“I am very much in favor of the generalized consensus of not going to Belushi Bar ever again.”