ORGANISERS of a controversial “Pimps and Hoes”-themed student pub crawl in Sheffield are planning to plough on with the event despite it being dubbed “completely inappropriate” by members of the city council.
A motion will be raised at a full council meeting on Wednesday next week by Coun Harry Harpham from the Labour group to note “great concern” over the planned Carnage UK bar crawl which is set to take place in Sheffield city centre on Monday, October 8.
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield and students’ unions from both Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam universities have already raised their objections to the fancy dress theme of the pub crawl, which they say is offensive and trivialises violence against women.
Mr Blomfield said: “Carnage is an organisation with a history of causing problems in Sheffield, but this upcoming event is a new low even for them.
“I strongly urge Carnage to listen to what student representatives, from both of our universities, are saying and scrap this offensive theme.
“It trivialises prostitution and violence towards women and is deeply sexist.
“This event will cause offence across Sheffield and they should think again. If Carnage refuses to change the theme then I’d call on local Sheffield businesses to wash their hands of this bar crawl.”
Now, Coun Harpham has added his voice to the weight of objection against Carnage UK’s plans.
He is set to tell the council next week that he “welcomes the work undertaken by both Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University student unions to promote responsible drinking, and encourages Carnage to refocus their approach based on this more responsible model”.
He goes on to say that the pub crawl organisers should “take into account local feeling about their events both in the student community and amongst Sheffield people as a whole”.
Coun Jayne Dunn, a member for Broomhill ward - one of Sheffield’s main student areas - has also written to Carnage UK asking it to change the theme of the event.
She said: “As a local councillor I take my responsibility for the safety and welfare of my constituents very seriously, many of which are living away from home for the first time without guidance and in a strange city.
“You are encouraging them to dress extremely provocatively in an uncontrolled environment which could potentially put many of them at risk.”
Carnage UK events have a history of causing controversy in Sheffield, not least when student Philip Laing urinated on the city’s war memorial in Barker’s Pool after taking part in an October 2009 pub crawl.
However, a spokesman for Varsity Leisure Group (VLG), the organiser of Carnage UK events, has defended the latest event, saying that Pimps and Hoes is a “common fancy dress theme”.
The spokesman said: “VLG is disappointed that Mr Blomfield, a former general manager of Sheffield University’s students’ union and a Member of Parliament, has spoken out against VLG in such strong terms without first raising his concerns with us.
“We utterly refute that Carnage has a ‘history of causing problems in Sheffield’ or that our proposed event in any way ‘trivialises prostitution and violence towards women and is deeply sexist’.
“Other than one incident in 2009, Mr Blomfield has put forward no evidence to support these statements.”
The spokesman added: “VLG in no ways seeks to trivialise violence towards women.
“Pimps and Hoes is a common fancy dress theme and was chosen by students who attend VLG’s successful events, including those from the University of Sheffield. This will be a fun event for students, which will be held in a safe environment.”