Dimensions Title Bar

Large-sized Canadian stripper alleges discrimination

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Sept 1 (Reuters) - A 230-pound woman who was denied a chance to strip at a Winnipeg area nightclub said on Tuesday she planned to take the establishment ``to the cleaners'' if it does not apologize.

Sherry VanRooy, aka Scarlet, told Reuters she was humiliated when the disc jockey at the club, at the Balmoral Motor Hotel, refused to allow her on stage on amateur night.

``He said I'm overweight, I'm fat, and an embarrassment and disgrace to the hotel.''

The nightclub said too many women wished to participate in the event and it was forced to turn VanRooy, 29, and her husband away. The aspiring exotic dancer, however, said it was clear that management thought large women were not entertaining strippers.

The hotel dismissed the claims, hinting that sour grapes might be to blame.

``Some make it, some don't. She just can't cut it as a dancer,'' sniffed Jim Major, the club's manager.

VanRooy, a stay-at-home mother of two who began dancing at amateur events three years ago, was sent to the club by an agency.

``I know I can get the guys screaming and I know how to move. I don't just walk around the stage and leave like some other girls do,'' she said.

``I would like to take them to the cleaners. If big women want to dance, big women should be allowed to,'' she said.

The avid dancer said she would settle for a public apology, a chance to dance at the nightclub and the C$25 in prize money she was promised for taking part. But the hotel indicated that won't be forthcoming.

``If she is being truthful, and I do not know, then, of course, it's discrimination,'' said Winnipeg city councilor Allan Golden. ``They have investigators who call and check these things.''

Obesity is not protected under the Canadian Human Rights Code, according to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.

($1 equals $1.55 Canadian)