news

Leisa was "humiliated" after being "fat-shamed" at Adele's concert. So she wrote a letter.

While it’s not uncommon for Adele fans to be reduced to tears by the end of one of her live shows, it’s very rarely because they’ve been traumatised.

On Sunday night, Leisa Bennett, from Brisbane, went to see the songstress perform at the Gabba with her sisters and friend, Jamie, but missed half the concert after she was allegedly ‘fat-shamed’ by the woman seated next to her.

It was supposed to be the big, first step of a size 22 woman who gave up her dream of being a singer because she didn’t fit the mould of a pop star.

It was personal.

“I am tired of being chained up because of my weight,” Leisa told Mamamia.

Leisa (second from left) with her sisters and a friend at the concert on Sunday. Source: Supplied

"I thought, 'I’m going to go and I’m going to celebrate Adele because she did it.'

"It was more than just going to a concert for me, I decided beforehand I was going to confront my weight, not just tonight."

It was a typically muggy Queensland night and 60,000 people packed into the stadium, making it sweaty, to say the least.

adele filthy joke
Adele perfomed in Brisbane on Sunday. Source: Getty
ADVERTISEMENT

From the first song, Leisa said she could feel the woman next to her becoming uncomfortable and squirming around, but by song number five she couldn't ignore the elbow repeatedly digging into her side.

She recalled the incident in an open letter on her Facebook page:

"I turned to the lady and asked, 'Would you please stop nudging me'?

"The lady was not surprised by my request, she faced me head on as if she had been waiting for me to open the gateway of communication. She stared into my eyes and yelled, "No I won't f*cking stop. I f*cking paid for this seat, and if you weren't so f*cking fat I wouldn't have to move you over, so f*cking get over or I'll f*cking deal with you'.

"I rose from my seat and as I stepped to move out, the lady rammed her knee into me and blocked me from moving. I responded, "Can you please let me through"? ... As I stepped out of the aisle and onto the steps, I felt my legs go to jelly and my lips quiver."

After speaking with security and a number of staff members, eventually the police became involved and Leisa felt "humiliated" as she was moved into new seats, all the while missing Adele.

"I wanted the ground to swallow me," she said.

It was "confronting", "humiliating" and "the exact opposite" of the experience she'd wanted to have and in the end she only saw nine songs from the 18 long set list.

On Monday the healthcare worker decided to write the letter, which was at first intended for the event organisers but quickly became directed at the woman who "ruined" her night.

"At first, I wasn’t going to say anything. And then I thought, ‘this is bigger than me. This is about every person who’s ever been treated as less than their value because of their size.'," Leisa said.

"If anyone told me that story I would say, 'that’s not okay', but I would never afford that for myself. So I decided that I need to start affording it for myself."

She gritted her teeth and posted it on her Facebook page, expecting the trolls to come but instead, her inbox was flooded with messages of support.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I’ve been overwhelmed with private messages from other women who have experienced the feeling of shame, of hiding away because of their bodies," she said.

"Their support, their kindness and humanity has been incredible."

A post shared by Adele (@adele) on

As many as 50 women messaged her throughout the day; some had been at the concert, many had suffered their own 'fat-shaming' episodes, others offered advice for her upcoming gastric sleeve operation.

"I just read about the incident you had at the Adele concert. I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you had to go through that," one woman wrote.

"People can be very cruel. I hope you only encounter kind, warm-hearted individuals in the future."

Despite, the awful attitude of one woman, Leisa still managed to be inspired by countless others - and one in particular.

"Adele's voice was amazing, but the thing that really stood out to me was her just talking."

"Her expressions and her charisma. I thought, ‘she’s beautiful, she’s absolutely beautiful."

"Regardless of our size our beauty can shine through and if people would get to know people before they make judgements they'd see that."

00:00 / ???