In response to an amputee's allegations that Zouk KL's bouncers had snatched away his crutches to force him off an elevated platform, the popular nightclub has finally revealed their side of the story
For context, Sundquist - a Paralympian and motivational speaker - posted a video on 12 April alleging that the club's security guards had snatched his crutches away while he was dancing on an elevated platform
Sundquist, who lost his leg to cancer when he was nine years old, was in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month to give a speech at the iM4U Reach Out Convention, a youth rally to promote volunteerism. He is also a retired Paralympic ski racer and a best-selling author.
For those who are not familiar with his work, you might recognise him from his epic Halloween costumes:
In reviewing CCTV footage from that night, the club appears to have come across a different chain of events from the ones alleged by Sundquist.
According to Zouk, a member of the security staff had initially approached Sundquist to exit the podium, explaining that it was only for women. Sundquist ignored the request and continued dancing.
"On April 9, Mr Sundquist, an amputee who walks with the aid of crutches, arrived at Zouk KL at 11.10pm with a group of friends. They entered the premises at 11.12pm, whereupon they ordered several bottles of drinks at Zouk Main Room.
"Two hours later, at 1.16am, Mr Sundquist and his female companion ascended the female-only 2-ft high dance podium at Zouk Main Room. Within a minute, a member of the security staff approached Mr Sundquist to ask him to come down from the podium, explaining to him that the podium was for women.
"Mr Sundquist appeared to ignore him and continued dancing on the podium. His female companion moved off the podium to the dance floor, and gestured to him to come down, too. Mr Sundquist continued dancing, while another female customer went up the podium to dance," said Zouk's statement.
Not long after, another bouncer approached Sundquist with the same request. When he resisted and appeared to be losing his balance, two security members grabbed on to his crutches and arms to guide him off the podium.
"Moments later, a second security staff member approached Mr Sundquist to request that he come down from the podium and also explained to him that the podium was for women. The security member placed his hand on Mr Sundquist’s back to guide him down.
"Mr Sundquist resisted, and raised his right hand, crutch hanging at his elbow. The security member held the flailing crutch and managed to get a firm grip on Mr Sundquist’s right arm and pulled him to safety, while the other security member supported his left forearm.
"At that point, Mr Sundquist was dancing close to the corner of the podium and he appeared to be increasingly unsteady, as shown on the CCTV footage. The two aided Mr Sundquist to keep his balance on either side of him. They then guided him off the podium. During this time, Mr Sundquist’s female companion had remained on the dance floor next to the podium," said the statement.
In Sundquist's version of the story, the security staff simply came up to him and ripped away his crutches, leaving him in the middle of the platform without his crutches
"As a person with one leg that means I’m immobile, I can’t move! I can’t walk," he chokes out, in tears.
"I don’t know if some clubs have this thing where like, 'Oh, only girls can dance on the platform or even worse, we don’t want people see people with disabilities at our club. Only beautiful people can be on our platform. God forbid someone who looks different is on the centre of our club'," Sundquist said.
Zouk refuted Sundquist's claims that he was left immobile in the middle of the club, explaining that his crutches were promptly returned to him once he was on the dance floor
"The two security staff members promptly returned the crutches to Mr Sundquist once they were on the dance floor, and left him in the company of his friends. It also did not appear on the CCTV footage that he could not move," Zouk explained.
Furthermore, Zouk said that the security members involved in the incident have been interviewed, both of whom confirmed that they did explain to Sundquist that the podium is for women only.
The club also disputed Sundquist's allegations that disabled people are discriminated against, explaining that the podium he jumped on has always been female-only. It also stressed that patrons with mobility issues are always welcome and will be assisted when needed.
"We would like to clarify that Zouk KL does not discriminate against persons with disabilities, a policy it has held since its inception in 2004. Zouk also has patrons who are wheelchair bound or who require the use of crutches, some of whom are amputees. We continue to welcome them and provide assistance so they have easy access to the various rooms in the venue," it stated.
"We would like to clarify that the podium on which Mr Sundquist had been dancing on has been traditionally a place where only female patrons are allowed. Male patrons have occasionally clambered onto the podium but they gallantly make way for female patrons, when informed by the staff."
To wrap up, Zouk apologised that "the manner in which our security members had conveyed their intentions could have been misunderstood by Mr Sundquist", adding that the press is welcome to view the CCTV footage if they wish to
"Their actions were out of professional obligations as well as concern for Mr Sundquist, when he also danced unsteadily near the edge of the podium," said the statement.
"We would like to thank Mr Sundquist for his patronage at Zouk KL. We will be contacting him on the matter, should he require further clarification. Reporting press are welcome to view the CCTV footage at Zouk KL."
In Sundquist's video, which has since gone viral, he said that he was initially reluctant to share the story, but decided to go ahead to remind his followers that "things do get me down sometimes"
"I didn’t wanna share this story with you because I know a lot of you guys who watched my videos, you say, 'Oh Josh, you have such an amazing attitude and you don’t let anything get you down'," he said.
"I want to make it clear that things do get me down sometimes. But what do you do? You get up.
"I get up, and I love my life. I love my wife, I write my books, I make my YouTube videos, I give my speeches. I try to be the kinda human being that my parents taught me to be, and that’s what I hope everybody watching this video does too."