Talk about an “awkward moment.”
A nightclub in England has been accused of promoting misogyny, victim-blaming and rape culture after displaying a sign with an offensive message containing a derogatory term for a woman perceived as promiscuous.
“That awkward moment when Halloween is over but you’re still a slag,” an illuminated message board featured in Alexander’s Bar in Worcestershire recently read, according to a photo taken inside the establishment.
A photo of the shocking sign reportedly first hit social media on Sunday, where it has since been criticized by police, politicians and local parenting groups.
"Alexander’s promoting misogyny, victim-blaming, rape culture in their bar. This is not OK — anyone should be free to dress, wear, and be whoever they want freely without being labeled for it,” a representative for Worcestershire Mums Network wrote on Twitter.
Outraged commenters agreed, describing the phrase as “absolutely disgusting” and “terrible.”
“This is just wrong,” the West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Center (WMRSASC) echoed. “WMRSASC would support a code of conduct to prevent offensive messages like this.”
According to Worcestershire Mums Network founder Siani Driver, a group member spotted the sign during a Nov. 23 trip to Alexander’s, according to South West News Service (SWNS), a British news agency. The “awkward moment” board is said to have been displayed in the popular venue since Nov. 1.
“It is simply not OK. I could imagine people going in and laughing about it, but it is objectifying women and how they dress,” Driver said of the “awkward moment” message. “We want to be able to go out and feel safe, and not see this kind of thing.”
John-Paul Campion, West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner, voiced similar sentiments.
“I was disappointed to see the wording that has been displayed in the nightclub. It is completely unacceptable to degrade someone for what they choose to wear,” Campion said.
“I hope the nightclub will work with the police and other groups, such as victims’ charities, to learn from this and understand how a message like this can be portrayed,” he added.
Worcester City council member Louise Griffiths said she has since reported the sign in Alexander’s to Worcestershire Regulatory Services in hopes of getting the message board taken down, SWNS reports.
On the other hand, council member Richard Udall said that he doesn’t think the offensive sign technically breaches Alexander’s license to operate, but he understands why the “misogynistic” message is upsetting to so many people.
“I don’t believe it would be in breach of their license, but that does not make it right,” Udall said. “Although I cannot force them to do so, I do now expect the management to take note of these concerns and remove this misogynistic sign.”
A spokesperson for Alexander’s was not immediately available to offer further comment on the accusations.
In November 2018, local police called for a review of Alexander's license over reported concerns of disorder at the nightclub and cocktail bar, Worcester News reports.