Marlena Katene fell down to Sydney to go to the Pink Concert as a VIP.
Marlena Katene fell down to Sydney to go to the Pink Concert as a VIP.

Reason this woman was kicked out of Pink concert

A GOLD COAST disability advocate says she was removed from a Pink concert after she was denied entry to the VIP area because of her wheelchair.

Music journalist Marlena Katene, who has cerebral palsy, said she was excited to be one of the 115 people to secure the VIP experience for the Pink Wild At Heart Tour at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena on Saturday.

The tickets gave Marlena and her carer Bert Hibbert access to the standing area at the front of the stage, a space they had been in at other concerts.

Marlena's wristband and ticket allowing her into the VIP zone.
Marlena's wristband and ticket allowing her into the VIP zone.

"I waited at 2 pm and was the seventh person in line so I was guaranteed a great spot," Marlena told the Bulletin.

"I choose the tickets for a simple reason - social engagement," she said.

However, the excitement quickly turned to frustration when Marlena was told she would not be allowed in the VIP area and was instead relegated to a wheelchair space in the bleachers.

Unhappy with the arrangement, and the lack of warning about the supposed access issues, the pair questioned the decision.

"Security came over 15 minutes later and told us it was their policy," she said.

Marlena Katene had been admitted to other standing areas for concerts in the past.
Marlena Katene had been admitted to other standing areas for concerts in the past.

Bert asked to see the policy and to speak to the person who made the decision as they had been in the same zone at Pink's Melbourne show without issue.

"We purchased tickets legally and nowhere was it stated that wheelchairs were not allowed," Marlena said.

According to Marlena, staff were unable to provide a policy for the decision and instead called police over.

In a video of the encounter Bert can be heard asking for the policy in writing.

"If we wanted to be sitting we would have bought those tickets, we aren't asking for any special treatment," he said.

Marlena Katene flew down to Sydney to go to the Pink Concert as a VIP.
Marlena Katene flew down to Sydney to go to the Pink Concert as a VIP.

A security officer can be heard saying the issue was a matter of house policy not to have chairs in the floor area.

"We have tried to accommodate you sir, regardless whether there is a policy or not it is out of our hands," the security officer said.

The pair say they were then escorted out of the venue and were told to remain 50 metres away from the premises.

"They took the tickets off us and removed our wrist bands - they attempted to remove our videos as well," Marlena said.

Marlena Katene has met big names like Ed Sheeran.
Marlena Katene has met big names like Ed Sheeran.

"In my mosh-pit experience having a wheelchair creates an even greater level of respect on the floor," she said.

"The social aspect is worth the VIP ticket price alone and something I would not experience in the wheelie section."

The pair have since been refunded ticket price but are still out of pocket for their trip from the Gold Coast to Sydney.

Marlena says she is seeking legal representation on the matter and has also reached out the Pink.

Music journalist Marlena Katene with Molly Meldrum. Photo: Supplied.
Music journalist Marlena Katene with Molly Meldrum. Photo: Supplied.

Shine Lawyers' discrimination law expert Christie Toy said under the law business in Australia cannot discriminate in the terms and conditions offered to the goods/services or access on the basis of a disability.

"It is unlawful in Australia to discriminate against a person with a disability when providing goods, services and access to places," he said.

"Stadiums must adhere to the legislation and ensure that those with a disability have the same right of enjoyment at a concert as those who do not have a disability. This will not be achieved if they are being relegated to a walkway.

"If a concert goer was removed from a concert simply because they had a disability than this is indeed going to be a legal issue.

"A business will fall back on the defence of 'unjustifiable hardship' in this sort of discrimination claim. Under the law they don't have to make changes to provide disability access if it's going to come at an excessive cost."

A spokesman for Qudos Bank Arena said they were aware the incident had taken place and were investigating the allegations made.

"We take these matters seriously and will respond in due course," they said.


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