KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — The outcry continues after Woodland Mall security guards reportedly kicked out a customer for wearing shorts and a tank top.
“I’ve never had anyone complain about the way I dress or say that it was wrong somehow, so I didn’t really know what to do. I was just shocked, really,” Hannah Pewee told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday.
Pewee, 20, said she visited Woodland Mall on Saturday dressed for the 90-degree weather. She said that after shopping for a couple hours, she was approached by a security guard when she and her sister stopped at the Starbucks in the mall.
“We ordered out drinks and we were just standing in that area where you wait for them to be delivered and one of the security guards came up to me and said, ‘Miss, can we talk to you for a second?'” she recalled. “I was like, ‘OK.’ I had no idea what was going on.”
Pewee said an anonymous person reported her to mall security for inappropriate dress and she was kicked out. She posted about it on Facebook after it happened.
“Never mind that within a one foot radius there were plenty of girls dressed just like me, since it’s NINETY degrees outside. I am so angry right now I’m shaking. I felt so embarrassed I almost cried. All because a stranger didn’t like how I dressed,” she wrote.
When asked why she posted about the incident on social media, Pewee told 24 Hour News 8, “Because it didn’t seem right.”
“I complied. I’m not a confrontational person. Even though I didn’t feel it was right, I didn’t want to get in their faces and be like, ‘No I’m not leaving,’ and start a big scene. But after I left, I was like, ‘I don’t feel like I should have been treated like that,'” she continued.
In a second Facebook post a few hours after the first one, Pewee thanked people for their support.
“I don’t want to attack the mall, but I definitely think they need to clean up their act. Their clothing policy on their website doesn’t say anything about clothing lengths. If there is such a strict policy, that needs to be *public information*, not something security officers spring on unsuspecting customers,” she wrote.
Pewee’s story was shared more than 6,500 times on Facebook and led to more than 600 comments, some of which were responded to by Woodland Mall.
“We have apologized to Hannah and we apologize to our community. It is never our intention to shame or embarrass anyone. We’re going to make sure that everyone on our team is aware of how to handle situations like this in the future. We dropped the ball on this one,” the mall told one commenter.
A day after the incident, Pewee confirmed on Facebook that a manager from Woodland Mall called and apologized and said they were revising their clothing policy on their website to clarify the guidelines.
“I hope that this can serve as an inspiration to some people that they shouldn’t be ashamed of who they are and how they want to dress,” Pewee told 24 Hour News 8.–24 Hour News 8’s Heather Walker contributed to this report.