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October 2, 2014

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Hakkasan suspends promoter accused of screening women to keep out ‘hippos’

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Al Powers/PowersImagery.com/Angel Management Group

Deadmau5 at Hakkasan Las Vegas’ opening night Thursday, April 18, 2013, at MGM Grand.

Updated Thursday, July 17, 2014 | 3:19 p.m.

Las Vegas nightclub Hakkasan has suspended a promoter after he refused to comp a table for a bachelorette party without first screening the women’s pictures, claiming it was part of the club’s policy to keep out “whales” and “hippos.”

The incident, first reported by the Gawker blog Jezebel on Wednesday, unfolded over a series of text messages between a woman named Zoe and an unnamed promoter at the popular MGM club.

According to screenshots of the conversation published by Jezebel, Zoe reached out to the promoter hoping he would provide her party of 15 women with a free table, a practice she said is popular among nightclubs that want to give brides-to-be a great experience.

The promoter counters by asking to Zoe to send him photos of all the women.

When Zoe refuses, saying it would be “a waste of [her] time,” the promoter responds with a series of text messages: “We’re not gonna give comped tables they are 850 a bottle total...To random girls...Then the club will be filled with hippos...That’s not what Hakkasan is about”

In a statement, Hakkasan Group President Nick McCabe said the promoter’s statements do not represent the nightclub’s policies.

“Hakkasan Group prides ourselves on providing our guests with an unmatched level of customer service. The statements made by this individual, who has since been suspended pending further investigation, do not represent our corporate policy or our views. This type of attitude and communication is totally unacceptable, and while we cannot control every piece of communication between our thousands of staff and guests, we will not tolerate anything less than impeccable customer service,” the statement reads.

Hakkasan initially said the promoter had been fired but later sent out a new statement clarifying that he had been suspended.

In the text message conversation, the promoter sends Zoe a screenshot of an email that says a group photo is required for all bachelorette comp requests.

Men requesting a table for a bachelor party do not need to submit photos, but they must pay a $4,000 minimum.

Later on in their text conversation, the promoter says, “We don’t comp anything ugly,” to which Zoe replies that her group will have no trouble finding another club.

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