In a video circulating on social media, Mariana El-Khoury angrily states that she was not allowed to enter the Mount Lebanon Hospital (Hazmieh Hospital) because of what she was wearing.
“Congratulations, we are now in the state of Iran,” she said in the video, adding that she was told by a female employee that her outfit was disrespectful.
El-Khoury, who wanted to be there with her sister who had recently given birth, noted that she wore a similar outfit two days earlier and was allowed in without an issue.
There is no official dress code for visitors or patients to enter the hospital. However, the head of the hospital Elie Gharios told the French-language daily, L’Orient-Le Jour, that it was late in the evening and she was stopped by a 60-year-old conservative supervisor who considered that the clothing lacked decency.
Gharious deemed that El-Khoury had an overreaction. He argued that her “provocative” outfit could have put her at a high risk of being harassed at night by another visitor or an employee… so the hospital was aiming to protect her.
However, speaking to Lebanon Debate, El-Khoury claimed that the supervisor, Ms. Rabita, said that there were employees in the hospital who “couldn’t handle seeing a woman in shorts.”
“What would they do if they saw an injured woman in a swimsuit? Would they refrain from saving her life?” the media site wondered.
Notably, this is not the first time the hospital was accused of discriminating against women for the way they dress. It was previously called out for reportedly refusing a nursing student from the Lebanese American University (LAU) to intern there because she was veiled.
It is common in Lebanon that religious sites reject entry to visitors in shorts or in outfits deemed disrespectful to the place of worship, which is understandable. However, it cannot be said the same about hospitals which role does not include rejecting visitors or interns based on their choice of clothing.