Image for Police Were Allegedly Called To Adele’s Brisbane Show Because A Woman Was Being Fat-ShamedImages: Facebook / Supplied

Police Were Allegedly Called To Adele’s Brisbane Show Because A Woman Was Being Fat-Shamed

Written by Emmy Mack on March 9, 2017

A Brisbane woman claims police were called in after she was fat-shamed and assaulted while watching Adele‘s second concert at the Gabba on Sunday night.

Leisa Bennett, a size 22 woman, has taken to social media to say she was verbally abused and repeatedly elbowed in the ribcage by another woman, who was apparently angry because she’d been taking up too much room in her seat.

But instead of dealing with the situation discreetly, venue security allegedly called in the boys in blue to make for an even more embarrassing scene.

“I wanted the ground to swallow me,” Bennett says.

Recounting how it went down in an open letter to her alleged attacker on Facebook, Bennett says the woman in the seat next to her, who was “larger” like herself, began elbowing her soon after Adele’s concert started.

“The first elbow nudge came at my rib cage – albeit a padded section of my midriff – I felt that, and it took my attention completely away from the concert as I withdrew into a space of shock and disbelief,” she says. “Bam, another elbow nudge, but this time more powerful than the last one.”

Then, after Bennet asked the woman to stop, she claims the fellow concertgoer rounded on her with a tirade of abuse.

“She starred into my eyes and yelled, ‘No I won’t fucking stop. I fucking paid for this seat, and if you weren’t so fucking fat I wouldn’t have to move you over, so fucking get over or I’ll fucking deal with you.'”

Speaking with News Corp Australia, Bennet adds that a young security guard tried his best to calm the woman down, but she “yelled and yelled” at him and eventually police were called, with half a dozen officers supposedly turning up, flanked by two detectives.

“Security was terrible, really. The police called for back-up and it was overkill … I’m thinking, ‘oh my god, I just want the ground to swallow me up, this is ridiculous’,” Bennett says.

“A very large police officer told me they were going to organise me two new seats and ‘it’s just one of those things’.”

Music Feeds has contacted Queensland Police for comment.

Bennett has pointed out the irony that she was fat-shamed in front of a performer who is “the poster girl for larger women”, and ends her open letter with a message for Adele herself, saying:

Adele, I didn’t get to see your entire concert. I suppose that’s a privilege only available those who are adequately proportioned. However, the few songs I did see were magic! You are amazing, and I hope and pray that someday you will endure the long haul flight back to Australia, and endure the negative comments from politicians down under; so that ‘someone like me’ can have a chance to see your whole show. I’m going to have bariatric surgery and fight my biggest battle, and hopefully next time you’re here I can sit beside my co-fans in peace and harmony and experience the wonder of your artistry together.

Read her full account, below.

Meanwhile, in a statement to Music Feeds, the Gabba says its staff “worked closely with its ticketing agent to respond to and address this issue on the night of the event as expediently as possible”.

“Should any fan require assistance or experience anti-social behaviour during an event, they are encouraged to contact an usher, security personnel or contact the Gabba Assist hotline on 0427594931,” the venue says.

Adele’s debut Australian tour continues in Sydney on Friday and Saturday night, before heading to Adelaide and Melbourne.

ASSAULTED AT ADELE – AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LADY WHO RUINED MY NIGHT (Via Facebook)

I attended the Adele Concert in Brisbane on Sunday 5th March, with my two sisters and a friend of my sister’s – J. My sisters had booked their tickets as soon as they were released however I was not attending. We attended a private party across the road from the Gabba on Sat 4th March and I heard Adele and obtained tickets for myself and J that night. We were so excited to attend Adele.

We arrived early so as to avoid big queues, but apparently not early enough – lucky we met some cool Pommies in the line who kept us entertained. We managed to suffer the lines with glee for what we were heading towards. My sisters were seated on the floor, and we were seated in the upper section.

I sat in my designated seat and saw where my sisters were seated – it was close. I asked the lady and her daughter who were seated next to me if they wanted to enjoy seating closer to the stage – as my sisters were willing to swap seats with not so good seats to enjoy the concert together with us. The lady said she had just spoken with her daughter about how they liked their seats and I said, “Oh there is absolutely no pressure, please enjoy your seats here”. We did not converse any further at that stage.

Adele was due to come on at 7.30pm but she was half an hour late. The lady to the left of me continually squirmed in her seat. I am a larger lady, and so was she. The Gabba seating was squished and to the right of me was J, also a bigger lady and to her right another bigger lady. I quickly realised it was going to be a squishy concert in the humidity, but worth it to see Adele live. The lady then asked me to stand so she could sit back in her seat and stated, “I keep sliding forward”. I obliged her without any hesitation. I thought to myself – as she fanned her dress, “…perhaps she is suffering with menopause as she appears quite hot. It’s going to be uncomfortable for the poor lady, because of the heat”. I ensured I kept my arms in close to my body to try and help the lady out a bit. I was just so amazed as Adele took stage and her voice echoed “Hello”. I saw her beautiful face, and thought it was simply amazing. I was hooked and wanted to hang on to every word, every pitch, every lyric, every expression.

After Adele finished her first song the mood shifted in my seat area, as the lady beside me began to nudge me slowly as if she wanted more room. At first, I noticed it but I was so enamoured by Adele I really didn’t pay it too much mind. But I could feel her arms and shoulders expanding into my personal space, and then I began to notice she was breathing in so that her rib cage and upper body was also expanding to force me physically further away. It was definitely an intimate space, but I wondered why she was doing that.

Adele began her next set and said it was time to dance because the rest of her concert would be depressing. I totally disagreed with that statement! Although, I had no idea what was to follow. I didn’t realise the concert would in fact be depressing; but by no means was that the fault of Adele.

As she belted out ‘Rumour has it’, I sang along and even managed a slight head nod and shoulder raise in time with the beat. J, who was seated beside me was singing away and dancing and rocking and I was delighted that she was enjoying herself so much.

Then the first elbow nudge came at my rib cage – albeit a padded section of my midriff – I felt that, and it took my attention completely away from the concert as I withdrew into a space of shock and disbelief. “Maybe that was an accident… Maybe the lady was squirming and mistakenly moved her elbow…” BAM, another elbow nudge but this time more powerful than the last one. She did it a few more times as I held my breath, stiff and frozen, stuck in my place not knowing what to do. I felt it again and again and I had to sort of move my thoughts from my throat to my head before I leaned over to J and said, “The lady beside me is elbowing me”. J looked at me surprised and I asked her, “What do I do”? J gave a nervous giggle before responding, “I don’t know”.

I was on my own with this, J is a quiet soul herself and of the two of us I would say she would be the least confrontational. I however, was not up for close and personal combat either. I sucked up all of the courage I could muster, and at that stage I was completely oblivious to Adele, or to the heat, or noise. I turned to the lady and asked, “Would you please stop nudging me”?

The lady was not surprised by my request, she faced me head on as if she had been waiting for me to open the gateway of communication. She starred into my eyes and yelled, “No I won’t fucking stop. I fucking paid for this seat, and if you weren’t so fucking fat I wouldn’t have to move you over, so fucking get over or I’ll fucking deal with you”.

My head was spinning, “What? What just happened”? It was all happening so fast and suddenly and it was all I could see or hear or feel. She then nudged me really hard and pushed at me from every angle, and I handed J my purse and phone and said, “I’m going to get security”.

I rose from my seat and as I stepped to move out, the lady rammed her knee into me and blocked me from moving. I responded, “Can you please let me through”? One minute she wants me gone, the next she’s blocking my exit. As I stepped out of the aisle and onto the steps, I felt my legs go to jelly and my lips quiver as I approached the nearest security person. I explained the situation and they approached the lady who yelled in their ear for a while and then the man attempted to speak to me but I couldn’t hear him. We moved down out of the stadium where he suggested I go back and speak with the lady.

I’m thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me”. I ask him if there was anyone else who could help. He said he would get his supervisor. I stood outside the food stall for a while before a supervisor came and I explained the situation. “That’s not okay” I heard from a female staff member before she wrapped her arms around me and asked if I was okay. Great! Now I’m going to cry!

The supervisor called for a Police Officer who eventually appeared and I explained what had happened. The Officer asked me to take him to the lady (I really didn’t want to go near her by the way) and I pointed her out. He then asked me to wait while he gathered back-up. There were at least 6 other Police Officers and two detectives out of uniform who arrived (I wanted the ground to swallow me) and meanwhile Adele is singing, and I’m not there to see her.

Eventually I was moved to another area while the Police talked with the lady and decided to move me to another section. The Police Officer approached me and said, “These things happen”. These things happen??? Really??? Then he asked me if I had anything to say to him. I’m not sure exactly what he wanted me to say, but I really was lost for words.

An older man then approached me and J was brought to the area and we were offered other seats. Of course, I was willing to go with that idea as I could try and enjoy the concert without being assaulted further. By the way, how long had I been away from the Concert? It wasn’t endless.

The man gestured us to follow him and we walked to the other side of the stadium (around the outside) and then he led us out of the front gates. We were now outside the Gabba and the man was confused asking the rubbish staff where the box office staff were. It was clearly locked. He walked around bewildered and dazed before speaking into his little microphone. After a while, we were called over by a lady who had new tickets for us. We were taken to another section of seating and got there in time for ‘Set fire to the rain’. Did we miss much? Apparently half the concert. Which I discovered after the concert ended and I was walking home with my sisters and J. I asked, “Is it me? Or does it feel to you like I was punished for being a bigger lady”? My punishment? I got to miss out on the concert while my abuser enjoyed it with spare seating around her. Apparently according to QPS, that’s just one of those things!

You ruined my night. I hope your seats were comfortable. I hope you loved every song. Most of all, I hope the lyrics spoke to you and you learned something about how to be a kind and respectful human being.

Adele, I didn’t get to see your entire concert. I suppose that’s a privilege only available those who are adequately proportioned. However, the few songs I did see were magic! You are amazing, and I hope and pray that someday you will endure the long haul flight back to Australia, and endure the negative comments from politicians down under; so that ‘someone like me’ can have a chance to see your whole show. I’m going to have bariatric surgery and fight my biggest battle, and hopefully next time you’re here I can sit beside my co-fans in peace and harmony and experience the wonder of your artistry together.

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