Towards the end of 2010, Object were either informed or concluded themselves that they were losing the PR battle in Hackney. They encountered resistance from the public, forum contributors and best of all, the dancers themselves. Well someone somewhere decided to 'go nuclear' and the frame grab below is the result. It is a last ditch call to arms and contains unsubstantiated allegations (highlighted in pink) that are quite simply breathtaking as is their probable origin, but we will speculate on that later in the posting. Also a word of warning, if you are someone that works in any of the Hackney clubs, please sit down, pour yourself a drink and try to stay calm...
As you can see, Object threw everything they had into the battle.
'......stories of sexual assault, harassment, discrimination, 'no-go' zones for women and children and links with prostitution and trafficking have dominated responses to the Hackney Council consultation which closes on Monday....'
How did Object know about the content of the consultation responses, especially given the fact that the consultation was still yet to close? Did Object have a sympathiser in the council that was leaking them information? Actually, its more likely that Object were copied in to the submissions, because that is what they asked their supporters to do on December 8th 2010 with this message on their website.
As you can see it specifically requests that Object be blind copied into any emails that are sent to the council. On that basis, the comments in the first frame grab are almost certainly the work of Object activists with an agenda, as opposed to ordinary members of the public.
Lets look at that opening paragraph again...
No Go Zones? When I am in Shoreditch I see people of all ages walking calmly past the venues, about on their business. What I do not see are people crossing the road in fear to avoid going too close to a club.
Links with prostitution? What links? If this were true, Object could have gone to the police and the council would have revoked the club in questions license in seconds. But Object didn't go to the police, because they had no evidence and the reason that they had no evidence it because there are no links with prostitution.
People Trafficking? How stupid do Object think we are? All club workers including dancers have to provide a copy of their passport to work in a club. These records are inspected by the council on a regular basis and any girl in any club at any time has to have registered because if there is no passport photocopy held and the licensing team arrive, it could mean that the venue loses its licence.
I am amazed that Object did not publish the submission that dealt with 'sexual assault', as it would have added much to their argument. I guess the reason for the omission is that it also didn't exist.
What else is there for us to look at?
'.....putting a stop to the sexual abuse that takes place inside and outside of clubs.....'
'.....saving thousands of women from daily sexual abuse....'
I would like to ask Object how they define sexual abuse, but we can see that they fail clarify what they mean but it does add drama to their message. That said, Object probably believe that someone dancing naked in a club is sexual abuse and if that is the case they are sadly misinformed, but we already knew that.
'......I worked in strip clubs for over four years........East London is particularly renowned for its seedier venues......that these Hackney venues were the worst for trafficked young women.....and easily the most prolific venues offering intercourse and oral sex acts.....'
The above comment is meant to be from a Hackney resident. It contains some of the most malicious, libellous accusations that I have ever read and in it Object roll out the same, tired cliches about trafficked girls and prostitution. But the language and grammar has a familiar ring to it....
'....these places which are intimidating in the daytime.......I've been harassed repeatedly......'
'.....harassed me using language of a highly sexualised and offensive nature......'
The above two comments are really interesting, in the light of a posting I made last month. In it I revealed that Object encouraged their activists to email Hackney Council with a template letter that contained false allegations about the Clubs. The offending passage is below....
As you can see the theme of the responses that Object boasted about, closely mirrors the context and language of the template letter. There is another comment, which I did not highlight which is also worth reviewing...
'......I run and perform in cabaret nights and no aspect of my work will be compromised by the 'nil policy', however as woman living in Hackney I will be safer and freer to walk the streets with the nil policy in place....'
This comment was made by Rebecca Morden, of the 'Scary Little Girls' production company, now also the 'Ambassador' for Object. So no hidden agenda there then.
We know that Object lost their campaign, the four Hackney Clubs remain open but it does not mean that they will not try to close them again and that is why this posting is important. It demonstrates once again that Object are seemingly prepared to say anything if it adds impact to their cause. The simple fact that Object knew about the content of the responses in advance of the end of the consultation means that they were copied into them. The fact that they were copied in means that they were sent by Object sympathisers and activists and I must question exactly how how many of the responses were really from Hackney residents.
Finally, for the person that lost out on career progress because she wouldn't socialise in strip clubs....I am sorry, don't blame the clubs. You may been sexually discriminated against at work or you may not have been judged ready for promotion, but don't scapegoat others for your personal failures.
PS: I just checked the blog visitor stats and I see from the sudden spike in visitors using IPhones, Blackberries and Macs that some dancers have clearly been taking an interest in the blog. Many thanks and please feel free to comment....