Leeds 'Freshers’ Violation' club to close following intense student pressure
A controversial Leeds nightclub has closed down, following months of intensive student-led campaigning.
“Mezz” made headlines earlier this year after “Tequila UK”, an event which it hosts, posted a promotional video on YouTube that allegedly glorified sexual harassment.
In the video, which has since been taken down, an interviewer asks male students attending the event how they are going to “violate a fresher”. One club-goer is quoted as saying that a girl he is with is “gonna get raped”. Another states that he would “fist them in the ass”. Later on in the video, the interviewer asks a female club-goer how she is going to “survive violation” tonight.
In response to the video, outraged students started a campaign against Tequila UK’s decision to market itself in such a way. A petition was launched by newspaper Leeds Student which urged the nightclub to stop hosting Tequila. The following week, a protest organised by the Leeds University Union Feminist Society was held outside the club.
Tequila UK apologised “for the offence that has been caused” by the video, saying “we categorically do not think it is acceptable or appropriate to normalise, excuse, tolerate or condone rape or sexual offence of any sort and we are taking this situation very seriously.”
The announcement of the club’s closure comes just days before Leeds City Council is due to hold a review of the club’s license.
The campaign was widely reported in both local and national media. A further demonstration was due to take place outside the council offices on Monday during the review. It is understood that some national media were planning on reporting on the protest and the impact the campaign has had.
The nightclub’s website on Leeds Club Scene states that the club is now closed, however Tequila UK announced on its Facebook page that it would relocate its events to a new venue.
Leeds City Council was unable to confirm that the club had closed down: “As far as we were aware, the hearing is still due to take place on Monday”.
Freya Potter, a student at the University of Leeds and Co-ordinator of the Feminist Society, is pleased about the result: "The closure of the club is a huge victory for the campaign. Tequila still haven't been held to account for their video and we'll continue to protest against other venues which host the night. We will still be demonstrating on Monday morning to celebrate this success."
A spokesperson for Mezz was unavailable for comment.
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