‘Mean Girls’ Party Barred Server Due to Weight, Suit Alleges

John Lamparski/WireImage
John Lamparski/WireImage

A server at The Ribbon restaurant on the Upper West Side is suing his place of employment and Paramount Pictures, the distributor of the 2024 musical film Mean Girls, for discrimination, because, the server says, he was prevented from working at a release party for the movie because of his weight.

In his lawsuit, which was filed on Monday and has been reviewed by The Daily Beast, plaintiff Joseph Sacchi—described as “a young, talented singer trained in classical opera [who] supplements his income by working as a server”—claims that his employer, The Ribbon, “excluded him from working at the reception because representatives from Paramount Pictures, the distributors of Mean Girls, specifically asked that he be excluded, solely based on his appearance.”

Sacchi is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 360 pounds, his suit notes.

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The suit goes on to claim that a conversation with his manager revealed why he was singled out as the only available server not scheduled to work during the Mean Girls post-premiere party, which was set for a Monday.

“Paramount Representatives pointed to Mr. Sacchi during [a] walkthrough on Friday, January 5, 2024 and told The Ribbon’s managers that they did not want him working the event,” the lawsuit reads. “Mr. Sacchi later learned that The Ribbon’s scheduling manager also made fatphobic comments about him to a coworker during the Mean Girls post-premiere reception, stating, ‘If Joe was here, how would he have moved around? It’s a full house.’”

The lawsuit even calls out the musical film itself for containing “fatphobic plotline[s]” and quotes star Reneé Rapp, who said in press for the film that comments about her own weight have been “harmful, stupid, and ignorant.” Now, the suit reads, “fatphobia” has “victimized yet another individual.”

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Sacchi’s lawyers Eric Baum and Juyoun Han wrote that their client “experienced judgment, disapproval and discrimination that comes from inhabiting a bigger body” and stressed that it is “illegal for employers to foster fatphobia in the workplace that affects employees and contractors, just like discrimination based on race, gender, and sexual orientation constitutes a violation of the law.”

“Joseph feels that it is absolutely necessary to pursue legal action in this case to stand up against weight bias and prejudice,” they continued. “He is hopeful that this litigation will help to set the precedent that fatphobia is unacceptable in NYC and that a person’s size is not a reflection of their ability and value.”

A Paramount spokesperson told The Daily Beast: “Any claims against Paramount are baseless, and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”

The Daily Beast reached out to The Ribbon for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

“Due to the weight-based discrimination, Mr. Sacchi suffered lost wages and emotional distress,” the suit ultimately alleges, noting that the servers who worked the night of the Mean Girls party each took home a $769.79 tip.

Sacchi is seeking declaratory relief, injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages.

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