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Tuesday

 
A tourist who has multiple sclerosis says he was denied entry to a nightclub because of his disability.
John Elias Dabis, a 35-year-old American, was visiting the Yacht Club at the Intercontinental Hotel on Wednesday, March 12 with friends, when he claimed he was stopped from entering by the manager. Mr Dabis has limited movement in his legs and uses a walker, on which he can sit if he gets tired, to get around.
He and a group of friends visited the Intercontinental on a Wednesday evening, a popular “ladies’ night” at the establishment during which women get discounts on drinks.

“The bouncer at first said I couldn’t go in because I may be at risk of choking from the smoke, which I said wasn’t an issue because I’m a smoker anyway,” he said. “The bouncer then went inside to ask the manager, so in the end it was his decision.

The head of security also told me it was a policy to not allow injured people inside but I am not injured, I am disabled.

“I hadn’t had one drink that evening and I was adhering to the dress code. I had dressed up.”

Mr Dabis’s friend, Lucas Lavina, who was with him that evening, agreed with his account.

“What we couldn’t understand is why they said we could get in, but John could not,” Mr Lavina said. “What were we supposed to do, go in and leave him outside?”

The manager of the venue denied the claims of discrimination, and said that Mr Dabis’s friends would not have been allowed in without him because they did not have a reservation.

“We do not discriminate against disabled people,” said Jivko Jivkov, manager of the Yacht Club Bar and Galley, who said he remembered the incident clearly.

“I knew the guest was upset and we offered him alternatives in the other venues at the Intercontinental. I know it is a sensitive issue – but we did not tell his friends they could get in, but he could not. We certainly did not say he couldn’t get in because he was disabled.
SOURCE: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/hotels/tourist-accuses-abu-dhabi-nightspot-of-refusing-him-entry-because-he-has-multiple-sclerosis

RELATED STORY: Stigma of multiple sclerosis is endangering lives in the UAE


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