62-year old sports journalist and broadcaster Richard Sleeman was turned away in front of Palms Nightclub on Oxford St on the night of December 23, 2011, after bouncers said he was too drunk to enter the club.
Sleeman denied that he was drunk, claiming that the accusation had left him “shocked and bewildered” as he had had nothing to drink that night, and claimed he had been denied entry because the bouncers decided he was too old to enter.
“I was simply standing in the queue, not talking to anyone, let alone behaving in an inappropriate manner. I quickly came to the conclusion that I was being excluded because I was too old. I simply didn’t fit into the mix of people in the club, and being told I was too drunk was simply his way of excluding me. I was horrified that I was being humiliated and ridiculed and having my identity taken away from me in front of a large group of people,” Sleeman told bar and club site TheShout.
Sleeman appeared in Sydney District Court on Monday, June 5 after suing Tuloch Pty Ltd, the company that owns Palms, for defamation and aggravated damages, claiming the incident had spread throughout his social circle causing him distress and negatively impacting his professional reputation as a vocally anti-alcohol stance as a 2UE broadcaster. Sleeman has also made an age discrimination claim against Palms to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
Tuloch Pty Ltd, the company that owns Palms, claimed that Sleeman was excluded from the club because he became aggressive when asked how much he had had to drink, threatening to “name and shame” the club if he was refused entry. It also argued that the matter was trivial and did not merit a court trial.
Sleeman told his story to the then-editor of the Star Observer in early 2012 in what he called a “pre-emptive strike” to “clear my name,” but the Star Observer declined to publish the incident.