TikToker Julia Reel Told a Restaurant Horror Story — the Restaurant Clapped Back with a Lawsuit

Julia Reel has one story. Hubbard Inn has another. Now, they’re embroiled in a lawsuit.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Mar. 22 2024, Published 5:55 p.m. ET

There are plenty of negatives to social media, from how it affects our mental health to how it can impact young people. But one that’s not talked about quite as often is the now-common trend of telling negative stories about businesses. These range from a bad experience shopping to Julia Reel’s serious allegations against the bouncers at Hubbard Inn.

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The story went so viral on TikTok that the restaurant actually filed a lawsuit against Julia for defamation. Hubbard Inn shared their own response to Julia’s story on TikTok, and Julia has since deleted almost all of her original videos. While it seems like her intention was to warn people about going to Hubbard Inn, the outcome was much worse for the restaurant, so they filed a lawsuit. We explain what’s going on.

Corboy & Demetrio lawyers versus Hubbard Inn lawsuit
Source: TikTok/@corboydemetrio; TikTok/@hubbardinnchicago
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Hubbard Inn filed a lawsuit against Julia Reel for defamation after her TikTok video went viral.

Julia Reel took to TikTok to share a story about how the bouncers “manhandled” her during a night out at Chicago’s Hubbard Inn, which operates within the 8 Hospitality Group, a group with at least 12 restaurants operating in the area. Julia’s video has since been deleted since the lawsuit was filed, but Hubbard Inn shared snippets of her video as part of their handling of the situation.

She explains how bouncers at the restaurant violently escorted her and her friend out. “They are grabbing us immediately,” she alleges, “they don’t even give us a chance to walk out on our own … I’m immediately grabbed by this man and he’s grabbing my arm. He’s pushing me. He’s manhandling me. And what is going on? What is the issue? Why are you guys kicking us out? Why are you screaming at us? Why are you grabbing me and manhandling me and dragging me using my bag to pull me out?”

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However, the restaurant responded to the claims with video footage of bouncers calmly escorting two women out who they claim are Julia and her friend. While Julia said the bouncers sent them “flying down the stairs,” the video appears to show otherwise. In addition, the restaurant claims that they’ve been greatly damaged because of Julia’s claims. They said the video “resulted in damages to the business, staff, and reputation.”

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People are split about who’s in the wrong in the lawsuit between Julia Reel and Hubbard Inn.

After seeing the video, many people are in disagreement about who’s in the wrong. Many people initially felt that Julia’s recount of the story was truthful, especially since the Chicago Sun Times reported that Julia filed a police report about the incident that resulted in bruises and a concussion, according to her lawyers, Corboy & Demetrio.

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“Respectfully, we urge the public to hold off on a rush to judgment and/or victim shaming until all of the evidence is presented in a court of law,” the lawyers said in a video. However, after seeing Hubbard Inn’s video, people following along with the case are quick to side with the restaurant, which paints itself as a small business being attacked by an influencer.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that Hubbard Inn is far from a small mom and pop. It’s part of a 12-restaurant hospitality group, so they likely have a large legal team. In addition, some folks have pointed out that the women they point to as Julia in the video are wearing two different outfits, so there are some discrepancies. We agree that until the case goes to court on May 23, 2024, we shouldn’t pass judgment.

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