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Adele fan denies 'fat shaming', blames Gabba

A WOMAN who was accused of 'fat-shaming' a fellow patron at a Brisbane Adele concert has denied the claim and slammed the venue for not doing its bit to stop the situation escalating.

Anita (whose surname we've chosen to withhold) told The Courier-Mail that Leisa Bennett, who said she was abused and assaulted by the person seated next to her at Adele's Gabba concert on March 5, had been unreasonable and uncompromising.

Ms Bennett, who wrote about her experience in a Facebook post, was later given free flights, tickets and accommodation to see Adele in Melbourne by radio station 97.3fm after a public outcry over the situation.

Anita claims she never referred to Ms Bennett's weight, didn't elbow her and even tried to compromise with her.

"She's lied and been rewarded with two flights to Melbourne accommodation and tickets to the show … she's a very aggressive young girl," Anita said.

"I did swear at her because I was very frustrated that she couldn't see or even meet a compromise. At no point did I refer to her size.

"My arm was fairly much wedged into her side and every time I clapped it nudged her. I couldn't do anything about that.

"She turned around said to me 'listen here stop nudging me' and I said 'I'm not nudging you'.

Anita says this picture shows just how close she and Leisa Bennett were sitting to each other. Picture: Supplied
Anita says this picture shows just how close she and Leisa Bennett were sitting to each other. Picture: Supplied

Then she said "nudge me again and I'll have you on assault'."

Anita, who has worked in the airline industry for two decades, said venues must take responsibility for seating issues.

In an analysis of Brisbane major event seating, The Courier-Mail found that The Gabba offered its patrons the skinniest seats at just 41cm wide with a 6.5cm space between each seat.

"It should not have got to the point where, as patrons, we have to resolve it ourselves," she said.

"We (airlines) don't let it get to the stage where our passengers have to resolve the problem.

"I really feel that from a venue's perspective the people on the gates should spot someone who is obviously not going to fit into a seat and nip it in the bud."

Earlier this month, Ms Bennett said her troubles would have been avoided had Anita accepted her generous offer to swap seats with her sisters, Rebecca and Ellen, who were in a more expensive section closer to the stage at ground level.

She also claimed Anita elbowed her and swore at her before bringing the issue to an attendant who then asked police to intervene.

Anita, a size 14, said there was an offer extended to swap seats but she chose to stay because of eyesight issues.

She also said the incident was traumatic for her 15-year-old daughter who attended the concert with her.

"It wasn't me impeding on her, it was her coming into my space and I asked her to sit forward so I could wedge in behind her which I thought was a fair compromise," Anita said.

 

Leisa Bennett (second from left) with (from left to right) her sisters Rebecca and Ellen, and friend Jamie.
Leisa Bennett (second from left) with (from left to right) her sisters Rebecca and Ellen, and friend Jamie.

After that offer was declined, the situation escalated and Anita said she was not going to be made to feel any more uncomfortable on what was already a hot and balmy night with sweat running down their rubbing arms.

 

"I stood my ground and said 'I paid the same money for this seat and I'm not getting to use the full capacity of my seat. You are sitting very much in my personal space'," she said.

"She kept threatening me with assault and at that point I swore twice and one thing I didn't do was refer to her size and that's what got me the most about what she said and even my daughter said that never happened.

"I did say ',my 'f***king personal space because I paid the same amount for this f***king chair".

The Gabba and Ms Bennett have been contacted for comment

Topics:  adele concert editors picks fat gabba obesity

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