Woman files discrimination complaint against Universal Orlando for alleged weight discrimination

Posted Monday, March 19, 2018 11:19 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A woman said she felt fat-shamed when she was unable to ride Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal's Islands of Adventure. She filed a discrimination complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. She said overweight people should be a protected class.

Read more from WFTV/Orlando.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 8:07 AM

As long as it doesn’t SMELL fishy, too... Then other guests would definitely want the extra space for their comfort.


But then again, what do I know?

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018 8:45 AM

I think my favorite part of the video, aside from the whole fact if you were that ashamed, why did you go on TV. Is the response from the male anchor when they return to studio and he looks at the larger framed reporter they had do the piece and says "You can understand how she felt emotionally Lauren." almost insinuating to her that she's had the problem too.


June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100
VertiGo Rides - 82

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018 10:10 AM
eightdotthree's avatar

Give me a break. This is a customer service issue, nothing discriminatory here. Maybe she can use the money from the settlement to hire a therapist to work on her self esteem.


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Wednesday, March 21, 2018 7:57 AM

eightdotthree said:

Maybe she can ... hire a therapist to work on her self esteem.

You say this like it's a bad thing. It certainly has been helping me.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Wednesday, March 21, 2018 7:58 AM
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Wednesday, March 21, 2018 6:22 PM

Dale K said:

But then you have to ask are you "ruining" the person left off that row because his/her group is loaded in the same boat, maybe in other rows, so now he/she has to ride alone.

If the people in that row are together she can wait for seating on the next train. She has a special request and it's reasonable to ask her to wait if it's not appropriate to grant that request in the current train.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018 7:25 PM

...especially if they are seating five in a row. With an odd number of seats I would expect empties to be fairly common.

—Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Thursday, March 22, 2018 9:25 AM
eightdotthree's avatar

Brian Noble said:

You say this like it's a bad thing. It certainly has been helping me.

And I think it can help her too.


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Friday, March 23, 2018 1:04 PM
Pete's avatar

The thing I find illogical about this is how can she feel fat shamed if the ride op wanted to fill the row? Doesn't that mean the ride op treated her like a common guest instead of someone too fat? I would think she would be fat shamed by just the opposite, if they said they can't put five people in the row because she was too fat.

Makes no sense to me and she is obviously someone who just wants to profit from the "poor me" attitude that is so prevalent in today's society.


I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

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Friday, March 23, 2018 2:14 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

That’s exactly how I felt. I think she just wanted a seat with no one beside her and used that as an excuse. She’s really not that big.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Friday, March 23, 2018 10:06 PM
Dale K's avatar

100% agree Pete.

Reason number 2 why I could never own a business. Every employee must wear a body camera with sound to see and hear what really happened.

Last edited by Dale K, Friday, March 23, 2018 10:24 PM
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Monday, April 2, 2018 5:21 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

Almost like I know what I'm talking about when it comes to the service/hospitality industry. ;)

Sadly, so much has been dumbed down and reduced to procedure or a list of tasks or flowchart and no one seems to train and trust their employees any more.

This story is a perfect example...

1. Put five people in each row as quickly as possible
2. That is all

...of the stark contrast of your story and how things should be able to be handled. Trust your employees to make decisions to ensure the guest experience doesn't suffer.

It's a pet peeve of mine. No one really seems to be expected to know how to do anything or truly understand their jobs or the big picture. You're given specific tasks, not a position.

You can teach anyone to play a specific song on guitar. It doesn't mean they understand scales, chords, theory or anything about music or the technique of playing the instrument. Put them on stage and they can play that one song as well as anyone. Just don't ask them to adjust, improvise or really do anything beyond that song exactly as practiced and learned.

That feels a lot like the state of the workplace (especially at this level) in 2018.

Pretty sure they still stress going above and beyond for the guests, BUT, that is about interactions outside the operation of your attraction generally (in my experience). You can try to accommodate someone when it comes to the operation, but there are times and instances where you don't and you stick to the rules. One of my favorite examples I like to use for that is groups in the single rider line, and I just happened to have watched something happen at Test Track a few days ago. There were 2 girls behind me who I heard ask the Cast Member at the FastPass merge point how long the wait in the single rider line would be. He told them, and also let them know it was the single rider line, that they would be split up. They ignored that and went on through the line anyway (I think they may have hopped over from the standby, as I don't remember them being behind me until that point). Of course we get to the grouper who is assigning guests to cars and pulling singles to fill the empty seats. Predictably, when they're told they have to split up they start complaining and kept standing just outside the rows to load the cars. The Cast Member handled it great, IMO. She kept on grouping guests while asking the two girls to go to the seats she had assigned them and that they were in the single rider line, which means you will be split up. She didn't accommodate them, and I don't think she should have.

I would guess that this lady tried to ride at a peak time when the wait was long and they were running pretty much as fast as they could to try and hit those intervals. At a time like that, while it was a simple request that likely wouldn't have caused a problem for anyone, I can understand why they would not feel the need to accommodate that request. I'd imagine if she had come back later in the day when the wait time was lower and they weren't as concerned about pushing as many people as possible through, they would have accommodated her request. I also believe the benches seat 6 (maybe 8). Having ridden it both in the middle of the day and in the evening with lower waits, they tend to cram the max into a row in the middle of the day and don't accommodate row requests or similar, but at night I've noticed they don't tend to max out the vehicles and will generally accommodate things like asking to ride in a certain row (this is important when they're loading the 1st row, because your view absolutely sucks in that row).

However, you're also not wrong. There are definitely times where I've seen and even experienced that inflexibility for no reason other than "policy" or that's all they know how to do, at several parks. General practice is to defer up the chain, for better or worse.


Original BlueStreak64

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