Haely White: Comedian claims she was drugged at LA gay bar The Abbey, management denies it
The Los Angeles-based The Abbey, a gay bar, is currently in the middle of a major drug controversy. The bar has been accused of drugging numerous women patrons, with complaints going as far back as 20 years after a viral Instagram post by one woman named Haely White. White claimed her drink was spiked by a bartender at The Abbey, which the bar has denied. They've attempted to put out the fire, but continue to be slammed as more women come out with stories from their visits there.
The Abbey is just one of the many businesses facing legal challenges. On April 1, we reported on the arrest of the Botello family, who ran the Puerto Alegre bar in Houston. The family was accused of sex trafficking from the bar. Days later, anti-masker Gary Kirby was arrested for hosting an illegal all-male strip show at his Florida bar. In May, we also reported on the arrest of Todd Anderson, who ran the Old Corner Saloon in Clements, California. He was arrested for selling fake Covid-19 vaccine cards.
As of now, no arrests have been made in the case of The Abbey, the bar has confirmed it is working with local police after White's allegations. It also issued a lengthy statement on social media, defending itself, and said, "If we had any evidence that one of our employees or staff had drugged someone, we would terminate them immediately and work with law enforcement to prosecute them." Despite those assurances, White's allegations have led to a cascade of others joining in to slam the bar.
Who is Haely White?
On Instagram, White describes herself as a comedy writer and director. Her website says, "I’m a comedy girl who writes, directs, and sells original comedy to brands and media platforms around the world." A graduate of Texas Christian University, White has been extensively working in digital media and film for years. She worked as a correspondent for Ask Men, and had a brief gig as a copywriter with Beats by Dr. Dre.
In September 2011, White co-founded Like Totally with partner Megan Dizon. The duo created several short sketches on YouTube before finding fame with the series 'Dated'. Then in 2017, she founded Don't Call Me Mommy with Samantha Gutstadt. The duo writes comedy around being mothers and has appeared in Parents Magazine, the LA Baby Show, and more. They've created the famous shows 'Sh*t No One Told You' and 'OFF DUTY'.
Along with being a well-known comedian and writer, White is also married to David Smalle. The couple has a five-year-old named Carter together. White has also appeared in numerous other media outlets like CBS, Voyage LA, and Refashion amongst others. She's also something of a social media influencer, with a massive fan base of 21.4k followers on Instagram. And thanks to that Instagram account, the allegations against The Abbey not only became public, but viral.
What happened to White?
In the first week of August, White put up a selfie on Instagram and detailed her experience at The Abbey. "I believe I was severely drugged (“roofied”) by a bartender," she said during a visit to the bar on July 29. "Within 15 minutes having half of my ONLY drink there, I collapsed, vomited at the bar and continued until I got home." She also claims she fell on her face, and busted her lip and suffered a black eye. The post also contained a second photo, showing her injuries after her night out. "We didn’t let our ONE drink out of our hands and I was completely fine before that," she said.
White then said, "It doesn’t take more than a Google search (try ‘Abbey weho rape’) to learn about what’s been going on there FOR YEARS... If that’s not enough, I found other common themes: 1) Rampant overcharges + 2) Wallets & phones regularly stolen. And people still go and they stay in business? HOW IS THIS PLACE STILL IN BUSINESS?" She ended the post by saying, "Join me in boycotting this establishment."
Two days later, White then said, "I don't believe in cancel culture... we have a duty to speak out," in another Instagram post. She added, "I have barely slept trying to make sure I can respond to the HUNDREDS of stories... ranging as far back as 20 years." Apart from calling on people to file reports with the West Hollywood police, White has also created a public Google Forms for people to get in touch with her.
On August 7, The Abbey responded to the public outcry with a lengthy post on Facebook. "We are aware of the current allegations which we take very seriously," they said. The management added that they contacted White, and have begun an internal investigation into the incident. "We can find no evidence that suggests one of our staff members spiked a drink. We have shared the information we found on the videos with her, we offered to show it to her, and we are awaiting her response. We will share the actual footage with law enforcement for any investigation," they said.
The management also confirmed it had turned off comments on its social profiles, blaming "hate speech and death threats" that they have been receiving. They also blamed patrons for not "knowing their limits". "We do a lot to mitigate over consumption but not all of our visitors take responsibility for their part," the management added. They also said they will start filing defamation lawsuits against "people who make online claims that are contradicted by our security footage and investigations by law enforcement."
Following the post, the management also shared screenshots of a conversation with White asking her to come in and view the footage. It's not clear if she did so, neither she nor The Abbey have provided an update on the situation. The last post from White is a call for other victims to step forward, and The Abbey's is about mandatory Covid-19 vaccination or a negative test.