Students in Leeds took to the streets last night to protest against a club promoter which supposedly “glorified sexual assault” in a promotional video posted on YouTube last Monday.
Over 150 students and members of the local community took part in the demonstration outside city centre nightclub Mezz, which hosts “Tequila UK” every week.
The protest was organized by the Leeds University Union Feminist Society and has received support from the Union’s Executive Committee, the police and members of university staff.
The action is part of a wider campaign against Tequila UK’s decision to market itself in such a way, and against perceived broader rape and lad culture.
Earlier this week, student newspaper Leeds Student started an online petition which “urges Mezz to stop hosting a night which glorifies sexual assault. During the demonstration, the petition, which contains the names of over 3,000 supporters, was handed to the management team.
Freya Potter, who coordinated the protest, believes it was a huge success: "Handing over the petition to the manager sent a very clear message that people are still really angry about Tequila's actions and that they will not be tolerated. We will now keep the pressure on Mezz to stop hosting Tequila.”
The protest remained peaceful throughout the evening amidst a strong police presence. Chants chorused by the demonstrators included “Stop this intimidation, put an end to violation”.
The original promotional video in question has since been taken down from YouTube. It featured an interviewer working on behalf of Tequila UK as he asked attendees to the club event how they were going to “violate a Fresher tonight?” One male club-goer responded that a girl he was with was “gonna get raped”. Another stated that he would “take advantage of someone”.
A spokesperson for Tequila UK told Leeds University Union Feminist Society: “We respect your right to protest and will whole heartedly sign a pledge to implement a Zero Tolerance policy to sexual assault and not to glorify or promote rape in our marketing and club nights.”