Colorado Business Denies Withholding Massage Because of Woman's Weight

PHOTO: The day after running a half marathon, Laura Smith was refused a massage because of her weight.
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The owner of a Colorado company accused of refusing to massage a woman because of her weight has denied the allegation.

"She was never refused service and she was never called fat," owner Penny Wells of the Natural Healing Center in Aurora told ABC News today.

Wells contacted ABC News today after declining to respond Wednesday to repeated requests for comment.

Colorado Woman Claims Weight Discrimination

Wells, after reportedly declining an on-camera interview last week with Fox 31 in Denver, told the station that a table had recently broken under the weight of a 165-pound man and that she had called the woman in question "large," not "fat," according to an article on its news website.

Would-be customer Laura Smith said she entered the Natural Healing Center last month, hoping for a massage to relieve the aftereffects of a half-marathon she had run the day before.

"I ran 13.1 miles. I was hurting just from that in and of itself," Smith, 31, told ABC News this week. "I was really looking forward to the massage. I was going to relax."

Instead, Smith said, the owner "was very matter of fact about it. She said, 'I'm really sorry, but you're just too fat for our table. You'll probably break [it] and have to pay for it.'"

Wells denies the accusations.

At 6-foot-3 with an athletic build, the 250-pound Smith said massages at other places have never been an issue.

"I was just kind of in shock," she recalled of the Jan. 21 incident. "When it sunk in, I just started to cry, then I grabbed my stuff and left."

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