Students are trying to force a club in Leeds to drop an events company which “glorified sexual assault” in a promotional video.
Promoter Tequila UK was accused of promoting rape and sexual violence after a video advertising a club event called “Freshers Violation” was posted by the company on YouTube last Monday.
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, newspaper Leeds Student launched an online petition, which urges nightclub “Mezz” to stop hosting Tequila. At the time of writing, the petition contains 3,072 signatures.
Jennie Pritchard, the lifestyle and culture editor at Leeds Student, set up the petition last Wednesday. She told The Independent: “We're pleased with how successful the petition has been but urge people to keep on signing and sharing it. We're so impressed with wide range of people who have come out against the despicable attention-seeking and attempt to make money from trivialising rape.”
A protest organised by the Leeds University union feminist society against Tequila is also due to take place this Thursday evening outside the club venue. According to the event’s Facebook page, an aim of the peaceful protest is “to demonstrate to Tequila organisers that their ‘Freshers Violation’ marketing strategy is not acceptable”.
The protest has gained support from many within the local and student community. The executive committee at Leeds University union has said that it “supports the right of students to protest on issues they feel strongly about”.
According to Leeds Student, Tequila UK is currently under investigation by the City Centre Licensing Department “after the promotional video was flagged by police as not being in-keeping with codes of conduct”.
A spokesperson for Tequila UK has apologised “for the offence that has been caused” by the video: “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.”