Mall apologizes after kicking college student out for wearing tank top and shorts

Hannah Pewee, 20, said in a Saturday Facebook post that a person anonymously reported her to mall security because her outfit was inappropriate.

“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,” the Grand Valley State University student told WOOD on Monday.

Pewee said she and her sister visited Woodland Mall on Saturday dressed for the weather. She said a mall security guard approached her when she and her sister were waiting for their drink order at Starbucks.

“We ordered our 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 told WOOD. “I was like, ‘OK.’ I had no idea what was going on.”

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Pewee’s Facebook post after the incident was flooded with hundreds of comments. Many of them were supportive. It has been shared more than 7,000 times.

“The Woodland Mall should be ashamed of themselves, as well as that anonymous complainer,” Pewee wrote on Facebook. “It's my body, and it's hot outside! I'm not going to show up in jeans and a sweater, sorry. Don't like it? Look away! I was out having a fun time with my sister and next thing I know, I'm out on the street.”

The attention Pewee got from her post has led her to take a self-imposed break from Facebook as of Tuesday, but she thanked people for their support in a post Saturday night.

“I don't want to attack the mall, but I definitely think that they need to clean up their act,” Pewee said. “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.”

On Sunday, Pewee said in a Facebook post that the mall had apologized.

“I talked on the phone with someone on the management team at Woodland and they apologized for what happened yesterday,” the post said. “Apparently they're going to revise their clothing policy on their website so it is clearer what is and isn't acceptable. In addition, security will be discussing how to properly handle situations like this.”

MLive reported that the mall’s website did not have specific information on the length and types of shirts worn, except to say “appropriate attire, including shirts and shoes, is required. Clothing with inappropriate words, phrases or graphics is not permitted and is subject to mall management approval.”

Woodland Mall issued the following statement to MLive about the incident.

“We apologized to the shopper and the public for the way that this was handled. We've already spoken to her and are working to make things right. We work to create a fun and safe shopping and dining destination but failed to deliver on that message for this shopper. We're working internally to make sure we fully deliver on excellent experiences at our Mall immediately.”

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