Student party night Carnage UK is causing fresh controversy after announcing its return to Sheffield for a ‘Pimps and Hoes’ themed event.
Three years ago, a student caused an outcry after he was photographed urinating on the war memorial in Barkers’ Pool during a Carnage pub crawl.
Sheffield Hallam University sports technology student Philip Laing, then aged 19 and from Cheshire, was sentenced to 250 hours’ community service in 2009 after admitting a charge of outraging public decency.
There were initial calls for future Carnage events to be banned, but organisers argued they did not promote excessive drinking and did not condone Laing’s actions.
Further Carnage events were held in Sheffield in 2010 and 2011.
Now, leaders of both Sheffield and Hallam Universities’ students’ unions have spoken out against the theme of this year’s party, planned for Monday, October 8.
Amy Masson, Sheffield University Students’ Union women’s officer, said she is ‘deeply disturbed’ by the theme of the party, which is being aimed primarily at the city’s student population at the start of the academic year.
She said it appears to trivialise the issue of prostitution.
Carnage UK hit back, saying the unions are objecting because they do not like the competition against their own events.
The company said it did not believe most students would consider the theme offensive, adding a students’ society at Sheffield Univeristy organised a ‘Pimps and Hoes’ event last year.
However, Ms Masson said: “As a representative of women and having worked in a refuge for women trafficked in to sexual slavery, I feel this theme utterly trivialises violence against women - specifically violence against women in the sex industry.
“I am angry and disappointed Carnage has chosen such a flagrantly sexist marketing strategy and urge them to reconsider their theme.”
Helen Francis, Hallam Students’ Union preseident, said: “I am deeply concerned about the title due to its connotations.”
A Carnage spokesman said: “The unions do not like Carnage UK events because they compete with their own, less well-resourced events.
“‘Pimps and Hoes’ is a common theme. The biology society at Sheffield University held a ‘Pimps and Hoes’ party as recently as April 2011, reinforcing our opinion that the majority of individuals, including those attending Sheffield University, do not feel it to be an offensive or pejorative theme.”