Australian reality TV star Jaden Laing turned away from posh club over strict tattoo policy

A reality TV star’s cheeky attempt to bypass a Gold Coast pub’s strict tattoo policy has sparked a conversation about whether these rules should still exist in 2024.

Jaden Laing, who finished 10th on this year’s season of Survivor, posted a video yesterday on his social media accounts showing him trying to enter the Burleigh Pavilion at Burleigh Heads.

The popular beachside pub has a policy of denying entry to people with “intimidating, aggressive, or offensive tattoos”—which it says applies even if they’re not visible.

Reality TV star Jaden Laing bought a turtleneck before the night out to cover up his tattoos. TikTok
Laing made sure his tribal tattoos were completely covered when he went to the posh Australian club. TikTok

Laing, who has prominent tribal tattoos on his upper body and neck, had set out to try and dodge the rule by purchasing a black turtleneck to cover his ink.

“I’m getting into Burleigh Pav,” he said in the video.

“I’m going to be the first Islander in Burleigh Pav, with neck tattoos, in history.”

But the ruse did not last long.

As he approached the entrance, a staff member immediately asked Mr Laing, “Have you got any tattoos?” while gesturing by running a hand along his own collar.

The competitive strongman, who has 580,000 followers on TikTok, attempted to play off the query but the staff member on the door would not budge.

“Can I just have a look?” the staffer asked. “You have to show me, I’m sorry, it’s our policy.”

“I’m covered up,” Laing, 28, said. “I’m just coming in for a beer, bro.”

As the staffer continued to press, Laing responded, “I don’t have any tattoos” and said he didn’t feel comfortable showing his neck in order to enter.

A manager was then called in to explain the pub’s policy, and he was adamant that Lang needed to show his neck.

“You can’t come in. We need to see if there’s anything on your neck, if you don’t want to show us we can’t let you in,” he said.

“But my neck is covered,” Laing replied.

The manager said: “it doesn’t matter”.

“You can’t cover up tattoos. It’s part of our policy.”

Laing was turned away at the door when he refused to pull his turtleneck down to expose his tattoos. TikTok
The former Survivor contestant argued his ink was covered, but the club refused his entry. Tik Tok

The incident was calm and cordial, ending with handshakes and an apology from Lang. We have contacted him and the Burleigh Pavilion for comment.

Also in attendance was Lang’s Survivor: Titans V Rebels castmate Nathan Freeman.

On its website, the “family and community-oriented” pub states its strict stance on refusing entry to anyone with tattoos above the shoulder.

“Guests with tattoos are welcome at our venue, however, our policy does not permit intimidating, aggressive, or offensive tattoos, clothing or behavior which may offend or intimidate other guest or staff,” the website states.

“Tattoos on the neck, head and face are viewed as increased intimidation in that order.

“This practice is common among licensed venues and is in place to ensure the comfort and enjoyment of all our guests. Covering up these tattoos does not allow entry.

“Management reserves the right to refuse entry to any person they deem unsuitable for entry.”

The venue made headlines last year over a similar incident where mother Katie Hally was turned away because of tattoos along her upper back and lower neck.

“Apparently my ‘neck’ tattoos from 2010 that mean … Family, love and happiness are too offensive or intimidating in 2023,” she wrote on social media.

Burleigh Pavilion later apologized in a statement saying, Hally “should have been welcomed into the venue”.

Hally told the Gold Coast Bulletin at the time that she found the incident “insulting”.

Jaden Laing appeared on the Australian Survivor: Titans v Rebels in 2023, where he finished 10th out of 24 contestants. Instagram

“I understand why the policy exists, but the manager could have used her discretion,” she said.

“She could have been more caring and assess people on a case-by-case basis but they didn’t.”

Reaction to Laing’s video, which has gained 725,000 views and 12,000 comments, has been largely one-sided in being surprised that the policy is in place.

Some have raised the question of whether the rules are discriminatory.

“I don’t understand. The tattoos are covered, shouldn’t be an issue,” one said.

“I literally don’t understand why this is a rule,” another said.

Other comments included: “It’s 2024! What’s wrong with a neck tattoo? and, “No idea how venues get away with this still.”

A handful of commenters sided with the venue, saying “rules are rules”.

Some pointed out that a woman with a full-sleeve tattoo on her arm walked straight into the venue, which is allowed under the policy.

Laing ended the video by taking his shirt off and saying: “I bought this turtleneck for nothing”

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