DJ barred from clubs over tattoo
HE says he comes in peace, literally - but Gold Coast clubs still won't let him in.
For years, swim schoolteacher, PT and club DJ Felipe Mattos has sported a large neck tattoo that reads 'Peace.'
It was only when he arrived on the Gold Coast that it became a problem, he says.
In the past nine months the 32-year-old Broadbeach resident said he had been denied entry to at least three different venues and now is calling out what he believes is discrimination.
"I've lived in Sydney, Darwin, all over Australia but I have never had any issue until I came to the Gold Coast," he said.
"The Gold Coast is meant to be a big tourism centre but they are picky with who they welcome depending on how they look - everywhere else had moved with the times.
"Having tattoos doesn't make me a criminal. I work with children, I have been a government employee but yet I am treated like a trouble maker."
Mr Mattos said his most recent knock back was at the popular Burleigh Pavilion in early December.
The rule isn't unique to the pavilion with a number of other clubs on the Gold Coast employing the same dress code, including - for example - Cocktails and The Bedroom nightclubs and the Star's casino gaming floor all ruling against visible neck and face tattoos.
"The latest incident happened at Burleigh Pavilion a few weeks ago, it was the second time I had been denied entry there. Yet I had been allowed in before, so it was all about picking and choosing," Mr Mattos said.
"I was told by security it was because of the bikies, but there are bikies without tattoos, there are murderers without tattoos.
"He said the boss doesn't like the look. It is humiliating.
"I don't turn people away from my gym because of how they look, why is it only ok in a pub.
"It deeply hurts me, I am a nice guy, it is one tattoo but I continue to be judged by it.
"Maybe if it said something like 'f**k the police', I would understand, but it says peace."
Burleigh Pavilion owner Ben May said he was not likely to change his rules.
"They are our standards and we are sticking to them," he said.
The current anti-discrimination act in Queensland prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, relationship status, pregnancy, parental status, breastfeeding, age, race, impairment, religious belief or religious activity, political belief or activity, trade union activity, lawful sexual activity, gender identity, sexuality, family responsibilities.
Tattoos are not covered by it.
Gold Coast nightclub scene veteran and Surfers Paradise Licensed Venues Association president Tim Martin said they rules were at the discretion of owners but had become a more contentious issue over time as tattoos become more popular.
"In general clubs don't allow visible hand, neck or face tattoos. This did come about and was widely introduced at most venues because of the tough period of bikie violence on the Gold Coast.
"Like any dress code the rule vary from place to place, but this isn't out of the ordinary or uncommon."
Originally published as Swim teacher barred from Gold Coast clubs over tattoo