Can a bikini at a family water park be too revealing?
A Missouri woman is getting national attention this week for her claims that she was kicked out of a public water park in Independence because employees thought her outfit -- a bikini -- was inappropriate.
"What sort of discrimination is this? Is it because you think I am too old to wear a bikini, or because I look too good in one?" Madelyn Sheaffer, 43, writes on her Facebook page, recalling her response to the employees on Tuesday when they apparently told her she had to cover up or leave.
The woman has a lot to say about this alleged discrimination -- but city officials are not commenting on the matter.
The facility, called Adventure Oasis Water Park, is owned by the city of Independence. A representative from the city manager's office tells Daily RFT this morning that the city hires a professional company called Midwest Pool Management to run the facility and says all comments regarding the incident would come from those officials.
A representative from that company, however, reiterates that the city owns the facility and will respond to any inquiries, directing us to the city's parks department, where another official tells us again that the company should be addressing questions.
What exactly happened?
The woman says on her Facebook page that she went to the pool with her 68-year-old mother, 14-year-old daughter and nieces and nephews, ages 10, 9 and 7.
They had just arrived when two teenage female employees came up to her and confronted her about her bathing suit.
"[They] told me that I would need to put a cover up on as my swim suit was inappropriate," she writes. "'This is a family park,' they said. 'Yes, and I am a family person, I said, and am here with my family.' They said I had to cover up or leave..."
She says that eventually the park called police to escort her out and says the officers were sympathetic, but had to remove her anyway:
There were plenty of 15-18 year old girls at the park in swimsuits equally revealing as mine. This was not a thong. It was a standard, summertime, two piece, string bikini. The same as everyone else, who felt confident enough in their body to wear one. This is summertime...... This is a swimming pool..... "Well I am not covering up, I said, and if you expect me to leave, you had better call the police and have them escort me out. Fifteen minutes later the police did arrive, and said that while they did not agree, they had to do their job. "We can't actually say anything," they said as we walked outside, (as it is a city owned park), ..but I hope from the expressions on our face you can tell how we feel."
They were compassionate. They too, thought it was ridiculous. I am a 43 year old woman who did not have the confidence, or the body, to put on a bikini until was 40 years old. I will not be discriminated against because I look too good in one.
As she waited for a news crew to arrive, "Several people...told me how ridiculous this all was, and complimented me on my swimsuit."
Here's video from KSHB of her interview.
Sheaffer, whose story has received national media attention, says in new Facebook posts that she has been getting all kinds of positive feedback from around the world:
Here's a larger version of the photo she posted on Facebook after the incident.
Daily RFT also reached out to Sheaffer to see if she wanted to comment further. We'll update if we get a chance to speak with her.
What do you think?
Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.