A leading Salt Lake City nightclub is under fire after an alleged assault that one attendee says sent her to the hospital with a "traumatic brain injury."
The incident took place at Sky SLC, which hosted an event on June 6th that was sponsored by the Utah Pride Center. The attendee, Jenny Fu, alleges that a bartender directed homophobic comments toward three of her friends, who are queer. After Fu objected to the language, she claims the bartender proceeded to call the club's security guards in to "intimidate" her before she was forcibly removed.
According to Fu, who believes she was singled out in part for her Asian heritage, four security guards assaulted her near the club's entrance, where they "threw and shoved [her] to the cement." The episode, she says, led to a concussion that left her "cognitively slow" and "struggling to meet basic needs."
Fu, who maintains that she agreed to leave the venue before her removal, says the guards' actions left her with bruises on her legs, pelvis, hips and arms, and "sent her to the ER with a traumatic brain injury."
"I can’t drive. I can barely see a few feet ahead of me," Fu told EDM.com in a statement. "I keep forgetting what I’m doing. I cannot work. I have nightmares. I have an onset of PTSD. I can barely take a walk. I am afraid to leave my home."
One of Fu's accompanying friends, Reuben Lehr, claims he was also assaulted in the quarrel, which he says was precipitated by the bartender's opposition to the fact that they weren't using the club's gender neutral bathroom.
While Fu was being removed, Lehr alleges that one of the club's guards "gripped my wrists, dragged me through the gate and pushed me into Jenny’s body," at which point he "landed hard on my right knee, damaging the sunglasses in hand and leaving my knee bloody."
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"We called the police and filed a report for what had happened," Lehr told EDM.com. "We showed the cops our injuries and told them our accounts. When they asked Sky for their security footage the manager told them that the cameras had stopped recording 30 minutes prior to our assault and so we had no video evidence of what had happened to us."
Despite Lehr's assertion that Sky SLC management told police there was no recorded footage of the incident, owner Ken Dinsmore went on to share a post on Facebook containing a video of the purported fracas as well as a statement denying allegations of homophobia against the venue.
"I wanted to address the public myself about the events that transpired last weekend at my establishment Sky SLC," Dinsmore's statement reads." First and foremost, I have always been a major supporter of the LGBTQ+ Community. I have hosted events for the community on countless occasions with no conflict. My doors have always been open for anyone & everyone to come escape the everyday stresses of life without discrimination, and be able to feel comfortable & free to be whoever they want to be."
"With that being said, I am quite disappointed at the entirety of the situation, however, I do need to say my club being called 'homophobic' is the furthest from the truth," he continues. "We have always shown respect and support to the entire community, and appreciate the support the community has given back to us. Unfortunately, sometimes we are forced to remove unruly guests from our venue for the safety of them, our other guests, and our staff."
In the June 6th event's aftermath, a Facebook page belonging to Sky SLC also shared a statement wherein they apologize for the incident.
"First and foremost - we would like to sincerely apologize to anyone who was physically or emotionally harmed from the events that transpired on Sunday," the statement reads. "We have always supported and welcomed the LGBTQIA+ community into our venue and strive to make Sky a safe space for the community. Our efforts and the actions of some of our team members fell short of this commitment this weekend, and for that we apologize."
"While we support the decisions of our security team to keep the venue safe and secure, we absolutely do not condone overly aggressive or insulting behavior towards attendees being removed from the venue," continues the statement, which notes that the club is working to "make amends with the LGBTQIA+ community."
Noelle Faen, a host of the popular Salt Lake City-based podcast Go To Hell, denounced Sky SLC's apology as "half hearted" in a Twitter thread. She also urged members of the local LGBTQ+ community "to stay away from Sky."
Sky SLC did not respond to EDM.com's request for further comment.