“It is honestly discrimination” were the words of the Hampshire mother who was asked to leave the store because she was dressed “inappropriately”. 30-year-old Leanne Kennedy from Fareham visited The Range in Gosport on Tuesday while shopping for gardening equipment. While picking up the stuff, she was approached by a member of staff who told her to leave the store since what she was wearing was inappropriate.
“All of a sudden I was approached, not very discretely, and told, in front of other customers, that what I was wearing wasn’t appropriate, and that I had to put a top on or leave, I thought she was joking, I was wearing a normal summer outfit,” Leanne claims.
The mother who is married to husband James adds: “It must have been about 2pm, and the weather was 24C. I’d just gone in to buy some gardening supplies to spend the afternoon with my daughter in the garden.”
“When I tried to laugh it off, she said that if a man came in without a top on, they would say the same thing.”
“What’s the difference between my back showing and another person’s legs on display?” Leanne asks.
Then, she decided to lodge a formal complaint as she had been shocked by the apparent dress code. Then a Range costumer service representative, according to The Mirror said:”I can advise that we do not have a specific dress code in place that would prevent you from shopping with the photographed outfit. I apologise for any inconvenience caused on this occasion.”
Leanne is originally from Southampton, she has worked as a professional singer but now is mainly focused on her nine-month-old daughter Athena-Mae.
Leanne said: “I was humiliated, traumatised. It’s discrimination. I’m a person who takes care of my appearance, I’m fit and healthy. People were staring at me, I felt like I was being followed and had no choice but to put my things back and just leave the store. I don’t feel as though an apology is enough after what they’ve put me through. I don’t know what could fix this, but I wouldn’t wish this humiliation on anyone.”
This isn’t an isolated incident. An American woman shopping in Michigan’s Woodland Mall was faced with the exact same scenario. The 20-year-old Hannah Pewee was asked to leave by the security guard because another costumer was complaining about her outfit.
She was wearing a Finding Dory singlet and on a Facebook post she wrote: “As many of you know, it is NINETY degrees outside today in West Michigan – aka, really hot”.
“Apparently some anonymous person reported me to MALL SECURITY for inappropriate dress and I was kicked out.
“Never mind that within a one foot radius there were plenty of girls dressed just like me, since it’s NINETY degrees outside. I am so angry right now I’m shaking. I felt so embarrassed I almost cried. All because a stranger didn’t like how I dressed.”
Then the mall posted a statement on Facebook, saying: “We have apologized to Hannah and we apologize to our community.
“It is never our intention to shame or embarrass anyone.”