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A woman claimed a bouncer threw her down the stairs. The bar fought back on TikTok. Now lawyers are involved — what happened?

Hubbard Inn, a Chicago bar, was put on blast by a woman named Julia Reel, who says she was 'manhandled' by personnel.

A photo taken at Hubbard Inn in Chicago on April 1, 2014.

When it comes to dramatic disputes, an online video says it all. Or does it?

Earlier this month, Julia Reel (@juliareel), 22, went viral when she posted a video on TikTok accusing a bouncer at Hubbard Inn (@hubbardinnchicago), a popular Chicago bar, of throwing her down two flights of stairs. But Hubbard Inn wasn’t going to let Reel have the last say — the inn’s social media team posted a video of their own with footage they say refutes her claims. Reel, who also did not back down, publicly denounced the security footage as “misleading.”

Two TikTok videos, a public-turned-private account and thousands of comments later, a total battle of she-said, they-said has ensued.

As their dispute intensifies — both parties have lawyered up — we can’t help but wonder: How exactly did it get to this point? We dig into the latest claims.

What are Julia Reel’s claims?

In a March 10 TikTok video that’s since been deleted, Reel described an alleged altercation that recently took place at the Chicago hot spot. Reel, who is graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in data analytics, says that she went to the bar with a friend and was then forcibly removed from the premises. Reel claims that she was “immediately” grabbed, pushed and “manhandled” by a man who worked there and that he even pulled her by her purse.

“I’m just pushed down. He sends me flying down the staircase,” Reel says. “I think I start to kind of yell, scream back at him. Kind of push back at him, and he takes me a second time and shoves me again and sends me flying down the rest of the staircase.”

How Hubbard Inn responded

On March 14, Hubbard Inn followed Reel’s lead and posted a TikTok video of its own. The bar's response to the alleged incident said it came following “thousands of views, shares, and comments” that have resulted in “damages to the business, staff, and reputation.” The video said the business has also received threats of “violence and peril.”

Hubbard Inn’s response video, which is two minutes and 17 seconds long, includes alleged footage of the events in question. Hubbard Inn identified the two women in the surveillance footage as Reel and her roommate, who appear to be getting “safely” escorted from the bathroom hallway to the stairs leading to the restaurant’s exit. The video has already been viewed more than 2.8 million times.

“Ms. Reel was not thrown from two sets of stairs,” reads text from Hubbard Inn’s video.

Reel’s attorneys, Corboy & Demetrio, weigh in

Immediately after Hubbard Inn responded to her claims, Reel went private on TikTok — but she’s since returned to the app. On March 17, she shared a statement from Corboy & Demetrio, the Chicago personal injury firm representing her, about the incident.

“Corboy & Demetrio has been retained by Ms. Reel to investigate the facts that led to her injuries at Hubbard Inn,” reads the statement, dated March 16. “While the investigation into this incident is ongoing, our initial investigation has revealed facts entirely contrary to the misleading narrative provided on social media by Hubbard Inn.”

Corboy & Demetrio partner Bill Gibbs gave Yahoo News the following statement: “We will have no additional comment during the pendency of litigation. The civil justice system is well equipped to resolve the disputes between the parties.”

Hubbard Inn retains its own attorneys

On March 18, Hans (@Hans99881751), a user on X, posted two screenshots of an alleged court document confirming that Hubbard Inn has formally taken legal action against Reel through its legal counsel, Forde & O’Meara LLC. The same document appears to have been made available online by the news outlet Politico.

“We are a small business and the staff is family, which is why we had no choice but to take this step after they posted another video attacking our establishment,” a spokesperson from Hubbard Inn told Yahoo News of the decision to take legal action against Reel.

“In order to recover the full extent of damages by Reel’s defamatory statements, Hubbard Inn has no choice but to file this lawsuit,” reads the document, which also places the incident in question between the late hours of March 9 and early morning of March 10.

Check back for more. This is a developing story.