Even in South Beach’s sometimes ridiculous party atmosphere, Mokai Lounge took the fun one horse too far.
City Manager Jimmy Morales revoked Mokai’s business license Friday afternoon, citing a threat to public safety and the city’s animal cruelty laws as sufficient evidence to shut down the club, located at 235 23rd St.
A video of the incident — which starts out with a bikini-clad woman riding bareback on a white horse through the crowded venue — was widely shared Thursday night and Friday. The animal is surrounded by clubgoers and suddenly drops to the ground and then bucks, throwing the woman off. People gasp and scream, and the horse looks terrified, attempting to bite someone. Then the video stops.
“I was disgusted and offended that any legitimate businessperson would think this was an appropriate action to take,” Morales said. “This activity was not permitted, and as soon as we became aware, I immediately instructed staff to act swiftly in remedying this situation.”
On social media, a campaign to bring justice for the horse bashed Mokai for allowing the incident to happen. A change.org petition began asking the city for the shutdown. Beach police quickly opened a criminal investigation.
As Mokai’s shutdown was announced, Mayor Dan Gelber supported Morales’ decision.
“What kind of idiot would do something like this to an animal and endanger people’s lives at that club?” Gelber said during a Friday news conference. “It’s not tolerable, not right, not humane.”
Calls to the Mokai were unanswered Friday afternoon.
The white horse was found Friday night in Miami-Dade County, though officials wouldn’t say exactly where.
“Miami Dade PD’s animal experts have located the horse that was at Mokai,” Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said in a statement. “The horse has been inspected and deemed to be healthy and safe.”
The animal’s name is still a mystery.