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Woman recovering from high-profile assault says she was discriminated against at Landmark Lanes

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MILWAUKEE -- A controversy is brewing at Milwaukee's Landmark Lanes. A woman says she was told she couldn't come in because her appearance didn't match the photograph on her driver's license. That has some in the LGBT community asking folks to boycott Landmark Lanes.


Alena Joling is recovering from a highly-publicized assault. In December, Joling fought off a man who was trying to rape her in Riverwest.

33-year-old Derrick Brown was found guilty of attempted sexual assault, kidnapping and battery. He will be sentenced on July 22nd.

"I have my moments of strength, my moments when I need to crawl in my shell," Joling said.

Joling tells FOX6 News she was reduced to tears yet again after what happened last Thursday, June 25th at Landmark Lanes.

Joling says she presented her ID to the bouncer.

"He takes a look at the ID and he says 'this looks nothing like you.' And I said 'well it's me. I got a haircut, went back to my natural color. I'm missing a tooth but it's me.' And I did my smile like in my picture. I gave him a (smile) and he's still going 'no, no -- this isn't you,'" Joling said.

Alena Joling

Alena Joling

Joling's ID is six years old, but it is still valid. Police kept her newer ID after the attack in Riverwest.

"The only difference is I have a gender queer haircut. I've changed my gender a little bit and I was assaulted and I pointed out that's why I'm missing a tooth," Joling said.

Joling says four employees scrutinized her face and her ID.

Landmark Lanes

Landmark Lanes

"They all start going 'yeah, the nose is different.' And at that point I'm already having flashbacks of being beaten in the face with a gun," Joling said.

Joling suffered extensive damage to her teeth, fractured cheek bones, cuts to her lip and four scalp lacerations that took 17 staples — from being hit with the gun before she screamed and ran for help on December 12th.

Alena Joling

Alena Joling

Joling is well known to the LGBT community as a drag performer.

After she posted about the incident at Landmark Lanes on Facebook, she received support -- some even calling for a boycott.

"What's really, really silly is there are lots of changes that we make to our physical appearances. A lot of them. What if I had been transitioning? What if I just showed up in drag?" Joling said.

Landmark Lanes' owner tells FOX6 News:

Alena Joling

Alena Joling

Landmark Lanes' owner tells FOX6 News he would like the opportunity to speak directly with Joling and make things right. He says there has never been a complaint like this one before, and he wants to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

Google Map for coordinates 43.059673 by -87.885598.


  • Roger

    So…….why didn’t she get apply for a new Id knowing her appearance is much different than the id she presented?

    • Sara

      if you read the article and the video stated that her newer id the police have. I don’t know why they would hold her id and for this long when she is the victim in the assault back in Dec. but that’s a moot point, but the point is, she does have a current id with her current looks.

  • Robert

    I don’t think they discriminated on her intentionally. She should have asked for a manager and got a newer i.d. If they made a mistake and let her in and she got drunk they would lose their license and if alcohol is involved they will most likely have a wrongful death lawsuit against them. Some things are clear cut. I’m sorry the photo doesn’t look like her. If could be her sister or a friend.

    • Sara

      She did get a new ID… the police are holding it until the trial is finished… and she did ask for a manager, the manager was one of the FOUR employees scrutinizing her ID, telling her that her nose was different and that her “story” of being attacked was an excuse. this is an example of how not to treat people, plain and simple.

    • s holmes

      It won’t be for this as no one broke the law. Unless gays are able to identify as something other than their picture shows.

    • Takesomeresponsibility

      Oh isn’t she cute, she’s trying to make threats to get more attention. I’d actually love some awesome jury duty, where do I sign up? Oh and your “Caps Lock” seems to be stuck which makes you look rather unintelligent and annoying, kind of like the woman featured in this article.

  • Ian Stumpe

    How is this discrimination? She doesn’t look like the person shown on the ID, that is not the bouncers fault and that does not constitute discrimination. The bouncer was doing his job

  • Bailers

    There’s more entitlement and privilege oozing from her than a room full of legacies at Harvard.
    She went to the media with her complaint before the management. Everything you need to know about her and this story.

  • Bailers

    You mean the attack almost 7 months ago? Did she not have time since then to get a new id that looked even remotely like her?

  • Dave

    That’s not discrimination, that’s called “being carded”! If your ID is 6 years old your looks are going to change. That’s why they expire and you get a new one. The bouncer was doing his job. If her looks changed that much just be responsible enough to update your photo IDs. Simple!

  • Takesomeresponsibility

    Sounds like this attention-seeker is trying to make what is a simple ID issue into a LGBT issue (Which it obviously is not) in order to garner more attention for her or her political viewpoints and/or stir up trouble so she can get paid or get something free. I don’t see anywhere where Landmark discriminated against her because she is LGBT, only because of her ID apparently not being up to date (Sounds like she needs to go get her ID back or get a new one and stop crying about it). Attitude adjustments need to be done on both sides of the coin it sounds like, Landmark could have handled things better it sounds like but she also seems to have anger issues herself (Obvious by her picture in the hospital where she’s flipping off in the picture). So great, now every time some customer service issue comes up we’ll have some attention-seeker pulling out that LGBT card, which is getting just as bad as people who pull the race card. Stop blaming others for your problems hon and go get that ID updated and stop the whining.

  • Richard

    Tess, you are either the individual featured in this story or someone very close to her. It would appear though that you are the one who is intolerant. You seem to be spending your time disputing with everyone on here who disagrees with your position. I appreciate your desire to defend your position, just don’t use grade school tactics to do so. Otherwise you come off as someone who can not be taken seriously or has any credibility.

  • Sharon Devitt

    Just so you know, when you have a WI ID or DL and a duplicate or renewal is issued, the previous product issued is NO LONGER VALID. So technically, if the old ID was presented, it was no longer valid. Not that this has anything to do with the bowling alley…..

  • JS

    The doorman at the landmark has always been one of the strictest in town. Many friends of mine have been unable to get in because their picture didn’t closely match their appearance. Anyone who has lived on the East Side and been out to drink on North Ave. knows this. It’s not as though there aren’t other options within steps in every direction in that part of town. If the doorman gives you trouble about your own ID, either find somewhere else to go or get an ID that resembles you. It IS for identification purposes, after all……

  • Knjones

    If you go to landmark at all you know that they have one of the toughest I.D policies ever. Mostly because north is a huge underage drinking scene. I have been turned away when I had short hair that was a different color and I was 26 years old. Everyone who goes there on a regular basis knows they are strict on I.Ds and with good reason. I think to say they were being discriminatory because of her haircut is unfair… plenty of straight women rock the same haircut, plus people of the LGBT community have worked there… I dont think the attack on her in December is something to overlook, but I do feel that this situation is completely unnecessary and unrelated. It seems like everyone calls the news for everything these days!

  • Dale J.

    THIS IS NOT DISCRIMINATION!!! A bouncer did his job!! It’s not a right for you to go to a bar and drink, it’s a privilege. If an establishment reasonably believes that you are not the person on the I.D., then they have every right to not allow somebody into their bar. This is done to help control and prevent underage drinking. That’s called responsibility. Plus, it’s the establishment and the actual bar tender that faces the very pricy consequences for serving to a minor. If you have drastically changed your appearances that much, even unintentionally, it is YOUR responsibility to obtain a photo ID. Until then, prepare yourself for RESPONSIBLE establishments to fulfill their commitments by enforcing their ID procedures. Quit claiming discrimination, grow up, act like an adult, and be responsible for yourself! I can’t stand this society that claims to be ‘offended’ by something. Put your big girl pants on. Fox 6, I’ve lost a little respect. Do the responsible thing and report actual unbiased news.

    • Fox6istrashnewsgarbage

      Pfff, I lost all respect for FOX6 a long time ago. They LOVE to make up stories where there are none and have taken it upon themselves to harass people who’ve not been convicted of any crimes, many times throughout their history. They consider themselves “Judge, jury and executioner” with their trashy news. I’m honestly surprised they still are allowed to use the “FOX” name, since most FOX stations are much more “Republican” and not as “Full of nonsense” as this station is.

  • chris

    Your lifestyle choice and your assault are irrelevant in the story. You weren’t discriminated against because the doorman refused you entry. Get an updated ID and deal with it.

  • zzzd

    My license has not expired yet, but I look VERY different as a 25-year-old than I did as a 17-year-old. That being said, until I go to the DMV I realize that it’s my responsibility to always have a second form of ID on me. The bouncer was doing his JOB.

  • Kelly

    As a bartender I would have turned her away too. It is her responsibility to have her ID updated, not for them to guess who she is. It’s not discrimination to do their jobs, but it’s easier to play the victim and blame someone else for not being responsible.

  • Bob

    I’m sorry she was assaulted, but that horrific event in her life had nothing to do with her ID. This is simply a doorman doing his job! That’s all!

  • josephagnello

    I tended bar for 35 years, if you don’t match the picture on your i.d. sorry you’re not getting in! if you want to change your appearance to impress your friends, get an i.d. that looks le you. or go someplace where they know you personally. bars have a great deal of responsibility and liability. why do you want to make it harder on them?

  • Alena Joling (Colin Acumen)

    I’m spreading this because I really don’t wish them any harm and am grateful the owner of Landmark Lanes understands how to do business and knows how to listen to a patron who is pointing out a problem. He gave his number to the news and I just spoke with him on the phone. I wish it hadn’t been so hard to get in contact with him or that his manager would have just talked to me rather than joining in to antagonize me when I returned after the initial incident just to talk (not to enter the establishment). This isn’t about my trauma, but about the fact that only using only the photograph on an ID to identify someone – making them explain changes in their appearance at length, not believing those explanations, and further skeptically questioning their appearance rather than attempting a alternate tactic of identification and going from there – is going to be a more traumatic experience for some groups than others (trans, gender fluid, and yeah, victims of violent assault…). I realized this after venting on facebook and hearing from many people who wouldn’t want the same experience or who have had the same experience and hadn’t spoken up and didn’t feel safe going. I’m speaking to the owner more later this week to help review that ID policy. None of the changes would make it any more difficult for people outside of these groups and many are recommended in a Wisconsin Government document on spotting fake and borrowed ID’s. Any discrimination on their part was completely unintentional and an oversight of not having those same lived-experiences. Hopefully, this issue is laid to rest and we can all feel safe (and properly carded) when we want to go to Landmark!

  • Bill

    So where’s the follow-up piece where she and the owner made nice and all is well? Don’t ya think you owe that to the Landmark?

    • Fox6istrashnewsgarbage

      FOX6 is not going to follow up the story with the fact that she made nice with the owner since that would be going against their own “Internal liberal agenda” of trying to start wars/riots/uprisings and/or other types of fighting or damage to business owners, which they absolutely love by the way. They don’t want to detract from the negative buzz they’ve created. FOX6 likes that sort of thing, especially when they start making up news stories and controversy where there really isn’t any to begin with.


    I find it more offensive she gives the finger in this picture. She should be prosecuted and jailed for indecency and quit trying to shove the lesbian psycho babble down our throats.

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