Woman claims she was denied entry into the Coogee Pavilion due to her tattoos

A Sydney woman has posted a furious Facebook rant against an eastern Sydney nightspot which she says refused her entry due to her neck and hand tattoos.

Woman claims she was denied entry into the Coogee Pavilian due to her tattoos

Make-up artist Gordana Poljak said staff tried to stop her entering the Coogee Pavilion because of her tattoos before eventually letting her in. Photo: Facebook.

Make-up artist Gordana Poljak said she was shocked not to be let into the Coogee Pavilion, in Sydney's eastern suburbs on Saturday night, where she planned to celebrate a friend's birthday.

"I was stopped at the door by two men and [they] said I cannot go further due to my neck and hand tattoos," she claimed in an online post on Sunday.

Make-up artist Gordana Poljak said she was shocked to be barred from an eastern Sydney venue allegedly due to her tattoos. Photo: Facebook

Ms Poljak, who lives in Coogee, told News Corp that she often goes to the nightspot, which is owned by hospitality mogul Justin Hemmes and has never been stopped from entering.

"I'm too tattooed now that I am not deemed worthy enough for Justin's place of entertainment," she claimed in the angry post.

"So the manager came down and was rude.

"Those who wish to support me won't go to Coogee Bay hotel anymore."

The mum wrote on Facebook that the manager at the venue was rude to her and she claims they did not explain why she was turned away. Photo: Facebook

The single mum is the former wife of media personality Mike Willesee and has a teenage son with him. She was also once engaged to chef Jason Roberts.

Posts on her Facebook page mention that she was in the running to star in the Real Housewives of Sydney, but was not selected.

She told News Corp that eventually she was allowed to go into the downstairs dining area.

“They said ‘You’re allowed to go to the family section’. I can go downstairs and allow all the kiddies see me tattooed neck to hand but I can’t go upstairs with the adults,” Ms Poljak told News Corp.


She claimed there were no signs anywhere at the venue saying that tattoos were not permitted and said that she was told she could call the manager on Monday.

Ms Poljak joked that the staff at the bar required customer service training and she would have been happy to offer it to them if she "wasn't so tattooed".

"My tattoos describe me, they don't define me," she said.

"If that manager knew what my week was like, and the effort it took to org personal life to celebrate a birthday! He would have cried out of guilt! (sic)"

Ms Poljak regularly posts photos of her tattoos on social media. Photo: Facebook

She said her ink was part of her identity.

"I love my tattoos, to me I resemble Encouragement, diversity, and adversity!

"No person has the right to judge your attendance based on your choice of body adornment!"

News Corp reported hotel licensees are allowed to deny entry to anyone, as long as they do not breach anti-discrimination laws and are not required to explain why.

The make-up artist said she was insulted by the treatment of the bar staff. Photo: Facebook

According to the NSW discrimination laws "unlawful" discrimination includes treating someone unfairly because of their age, race, sex, disability, sexuality, because someone is transgender or due to their marital or domestic status.

A spokeswoman for Anti-Discrimination NSW told News Corp that not letting someone in because of their tattoos does not count as discrimination unless the ink is related to their race or ethnicity.

Ms Poljak told News Corp that she contacted personally Mr Hemmes via text and he has apologised.

7 News Online has contacted Mr Hemmes' company Merivale for comment and awaits response.

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