The Mancunion

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Social Junkies forced to pull ‘Armed Forces and Taliban’ themed clubnight


Social Junkies have landed themselves in hot water yet again after The BOP organisers were forced to pull their “tasteless” ‘Armed Forces and Taliban’ themed clubnight.

The decision came after the massive backlash from students pressured them to cancel the event just one day before it was set to go ahead.

Flyers for the night depicted men representing the Taliban against a wall with their hands tied, and a soldier pointing a gun towards them.

Social Junkies claimed they changed the night on Monday and withdrew “all promotional material”, but students found flyers being distributed around campus as late as Thursday.

The promoters issued a grovelling apology on Facebook after being overwhelmed by sustained attacks from students and members of the Union Executive.

“The BOP should have paid closer to attention to this theme and, more importantly the image that accompanied it when it was originally designed. We made a mistake. We are sorry,” said a statement on their Facebook page.

But Social Junkies put the blame for the theme selection on Halls RAs, stating, “As in every year, the themes are put out for discussion and choices are made via google docs between many RA members.”

The flyer thanked several hall committees for their “help and support”, including Owens Park, Oak House and North Campus halls.

Prior to the event being cancelled, Ben Hourahine, Social Secretary for Owens Park, said on Facebook, “Already bought my Abu Hamza fancy dress costume.”

Both the Islamic Society and the Students’ Union came out against Social Junkies.

Saad Wahid, Diversity Officer at the Union, told The Mancunion, “This theme trivialises the suffering felt by everyone affected by the devastation of conflict worldwide. It makes a mockery of the armed forces, their families and of human rights abuses committed in the context of war.”

The Islamic Society went further, calling for more action to be taken. “This event was founded on the fundamentals of racism and stereotypes, asking guests to dress as racially stereotyped caricatures.”

“We believe that it is not enough that the event is cancelled. We believe the organisers should not only be held accountable for their unacceptable behaviour but for their complete lack of respect.”

The BOP takes place at Jabez Clegg every Friday.

Alan Harvey Duty Manager at Jabez Clegg, “We found out this morning. We can’t cancel the event because of our agreement with Social Junkies. At the end of the day we are a venue, people hire us out, then its up to them what they do.”

Over 400 people signed up to the Facebook page calling to end the night. Students took to the page to express their outrage.

Amy Walls, nursing student at the University of Manchester, said, “As someone who has family serving in Afghanistan, I find this extremely disrespectful. BOP have crossed the line here.”

Recent graduate Ben Green added, “Social Junkies are forever doing stupid things like this. The University just needs to stop doing business with them. I’m sure there are plenty of other promotion companies which are not run by asshats.”

Manchester RAG was due to hold an event at The BOP that night, but when being alerted to the theme of the night immediately changed the venue.

Social Junkies – who have strong links to University of Manchester Halls of Residence – are becoming a magnet for bad press.

In 2010, the University and the Union condemned their ‘fuck a fresher’ night. This year, The Mancunion reported that lavish perks were offered to JCRs to peddle their nights in 2011.

Most recently, Social Junkies were slated for their filter system for reps, which involved secretly rating students on campus for their attractiveness.

A spokesman from the University of Manchester told The Mancunion: “The BOP is held at a commercial company, so there is no formal association with the University.

“However, we were not happy for the University’s name to be used in connection with this event, so Senior Management contacted Social Junkies to demand the immediate withdrawal of all publicity material and let them know that the proposed theme was totally unnacceptable.”

  • Cecil

    Social Junkies heaps the blame onto Hall RAs? Is this not coming across as even slightly immature on SJ’s part? Social Junkies is quite obviously the one to blame here; instead of taking liability, profusely apologising and making sure it doesn’t happen they again they want to wash their hands of all involvement.
    If they’re at the top of the hierarchy they need to take responsibility and ensure someone sanity checks these ideas, that’s part of their position in all this. Manchester is an incredibly diverse place so how did this inane idea even make it there without someone realising the political/cultural backlash?
    I suppose it points out a severe lacking on Social Junkies’ part to put responsibility and rationale before profit and partying.

  • callum

    Its not the first time they have done this kind of thing, when they started the night dyslexic it offended myself and hundreds of others, even when one of their own staff committed suicide by hanging themselves they had the insensitivity to release a t shirt depicting a noose from their sister company

    • Steve

      I think you will find that the sister company you are referring to was a design community/competition where the designs were submitted by users, and the designs that went to print were also voted for by users. People need to stop taking themselves so serious and have a good time, Social Junkies run some of the most well organised events around Manchester.

      • Georgia

        Oh, well as long as they’re WELL ORGANISED. Because people are mainly upset about the issue of organisation, so that’s very relevant.

  • Mark

    People need to stop having a go at the promoters , they put on nights for the students . Why dont we look at the actual union who cant run anything and for one of the biggest uni’s in europe its a joke.

    SJ are very well organised and it is the RA’s decision on the names and people need to be light hearted about these things to

  • Gulliver Hassanio

    As a regular Bopper, I totally disagree with all of the negative publicity that Bop is recieving.. It’s unfair! LEAVE SOCIAL JUNKIES ALONE!!!! :(

  • Richard Crook

    Could you elaborate on your point Hassanio?

  • James

    i think it was a quality idea dont no why it was called off.

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