Councillors from three political parties have joined forces in voicing their concern over a controversial ‘Pimps and Hoes’ themed Carnage bar crawl, branding it “inappropriate” and “offensive”.
The fancy dressed themed night, to be held on Monday October 8, was criticised unanimously by members at Wednesday’s full council meeting in a motion which condemned the theme as sexist and derogatory towards women.
This year’s theme of ‘Pimps and Hoes’ has led to criticism from politicians and women’s groups.
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrat group in Sheffield, supported the motion.
He told Forge Press: “[Carnage] have gone deliberately out of their way to cause controversy. The word ‘hoe’ is not a term that we want to describe anyone.
“All the council have united in saying that we think this is inappropriate.
“This is a commercial organisation using [the theme] for their own gain. We hope that the motion has been seen and heard.”
Coun Harry Harpham, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council and cabinet Member for homes and neighbourhoods, put forward the motion.
He said: “I am extremely concerned about next week’s themed event and believe it is completely inappropriate and offensive to women.
“I would encourage Carnage to refocus their approach based on a more responsible model and to take into account local feeling about their events.”
All Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green party members present at the meeting endorsed the motion.
At Carnage UK events, students pay £10 for a T-shirt for free entry to several bars and nightclubs, many of which offer cheap drink promotions.
Up to 2,000 students are expected to attend this month’s event in Sheffield.
The council supported comments made by Amy Masson, women’s officer at the University of Sheffield Students’ Union, who has called on Carnage UK to change their theme.
Speaking about the decision, Masson said: “I am delighted that the City Council has passed a motion urging Carnage to change this theme.
“On the evening of the Carnage bar crawl, I will be joining members of Stop The Traffik society and Women’s Committee for a peaceful protest raising awareness of the issues surrounding pimping and prostitution.
“Having worked in a refuge for women trafficked into sexual slavery, I feel this theme utterly trivialises violence against women, specifically violence against women in the sex industry.”
A Carnage spokesman told Forge Press that the theme was decided via a student vote.
He said: “The fancy dress themes for our events are chosen by the students and not by us. This is a fancy dress student event, nothing more.
“A simple search of Google for similar events will return a large volume of results both for universities and night clubs, which includes a high number of ‘Pimps & Hoes’ themed events.
“Purely as an example, we refer you to Paris Nightclub in Sheffield who recently advertised a ‘Pimps and Hoes’ themed event.
“Why haven’t the elected councillors or the Students’ Union taken up their grievances with the organisers of that event, given that the fancy dress theme is the same?
“If Coun Harpham had bothered to contact us in the first place, we would have entered into meaningful dialogue with him.”
Carnage UK attracted controversy three years ago after a student was photographed urinating on the war memorial in Barkers’ Pool during one of the firm’s pub crawls in Sheffield.
Sheffield Hallam University student Philip Laing, then aged 19, was sentenced to 250 hours of community service in 2009 after pleading guilty to a charge of outraging public decency.
Following the incident, calls were made for future Carnage events in the city to be banned, however organisers said they did not promote excessive drinking and did not condone Laing’s actions.