Angelika Hargesheimer sparked a discussion regarding the legal bounds of weight-based discrimination after she decided to place her own limits on potential guests of Beachhotel Sahlenburg in Cuxhaven, Germany.
“For reasons of liability, we would like to point out that the interior is not suitable for people with a body weight of more than 130 kg,” reads the disclaimer on the hotel website.
Hargesheimer explained to local news outlet buten un binnen that she decided to provide a weight-related disclaimer after an incident with a former guest whose bed collapsed while he was sleeping. The disgruntled - and presumably portly - guest reportedly sued the hotel owner for related damages. The matter was settled out of court.
According to Hargesheimer, she wants her business to be thought of as a “designer hotel,” and therefore has “classic” pieces of furniture - which apparently cannot be reinforced.
Furthermore, she claimed, a number of possibly overweight guests struggled to get into the showers, and some individuals of a similar build also complained of the dining room chairs being uncomfortable.
However, the hotel owner’s comments appeared to expose an additional motivation for her move.
"Well, I find it personally discriminatory that I have to endure such a sight - to be honest. And I know when I'm fat that something is wrong," Hargesheimer said, arguing that those without a thyroid condition should be able to control their weight.
Natalie Rosenke, chairwoman of the Society Against Weight Discrimination, has expressed via social media that the hotel is “deliberately and specifically” excluding “fat people,” according to a translated tweet. She went on to assert that legislation should be put into place to protect individuals from such a practice.
"Legal protection against weight discrimination is overdue!" she declared in an interview with German tabloid Bild.
While there are existing laws prohibiting weight-based discrimination in Germany, they are only applicable “if an overweight person reaches the threshold of a disability,” according to Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency spokesperson Sebastian Bickerich, who was also interviewed by the tabloid.
"Therefore, it should be difficult for those affected to take legal action against provisions such as in the hotel you described, with reference to the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG)."
Hargesheimer stated that since she chooses to “stick to her diet,” others should be able to do the same.
Luckily, her “designer hotel” isn’t the only spot at which to stay in the beach town.