IRRESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM SPREADING HATE AND DIVISION
Press Statement – Receipt of Culture Recovery Grant from Arts Council England
We refer to the articles posted on 15 June 2021 by the Sun and the Mail Online with reference to our receipt of Public Arts Council Funding. Although we are glad for the free publicity, we are saddened that both publications had failed to contact us with sufficient notice in advance of publication to ensure that they took care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information in accordance with their obligations under the Independent Press Standards Organizations’ Code of Practice (despite the Mail Online claiming to have done so in its publication).
We specifically object to the Sun’s use of the term “anything goes” to describe the events which we put on which we believe to be libelous. Further, the headline “Sex parties where naked women are flogged”
suggests misogynistic abuse is perpetrated at our events. Quite the contrary is true, our company has in place rigorous health, safety and membership policies and rules in order to ensure the safety of all of our staff, members and guests during events. This is why we are well known for providing a safe space to the LGBTQ+ and sex-positive Community and having been fully accredited by the Good Night Out Campaign to implement best practice. We therefore trust that publication will correct this significant inaccuracy as required by the Code of Practice, given that this unfairly represents our business in a way that could make it difficult for us to obtain insurance, funding, bookings and licenses in the future.
We understand the public interest in the recipients of the Arts Council grants given that it makes use of tax-payer money and the importance of oversight by the press. We firmly believe these articles were intended not to critique the woefully inadequate support to the arts sector (which has been hit more than any other sector by the pandemic) nor corruption in the award of that funding, but instead intended to incite a ‘culture war’ against businesses supporting marginalized groups in society who they believe to be of lesser cultural importance than the likes of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Football Museum. Without support to a cross-section of cultural organizations society risk an extremely boring and homogenized society that caters only to those of a single set of values. Our organization hosts some of most distinctive contemporary electronic music artists in London in a safe and respectful environment, which is more that we can say for the football…
Having given to work to over 60 freelancers, given stage to over 100 artists and musicians to perform, we injected life into the local economy and paid thousands in taxes since it was established, we firmly believe that the support provided by the Arts Council to our company was well deserved and long over-due.
The unwarranted focus on our business rather than endemic corruption in Government procurement on a colossal scale obfuscates criticism away from those who deserve it. Meanwhile little press coverage has been given to the Good Law Project which has shown tax payer money has been misappropriated throughout the pandemic leaving little for those truly in need. Whilst our membership comprises of builders, business executives, doctors, performers, and artists we do not have connections to elected officials. In contrast we underwent a rigorous and fair evidence-based process in order to access this funding.
Having received funding we put this to good use by spending it on freelancers, creatives, Covid-19 relevant PPE, operational costs and overheads. The Covid-19 pandemic hit Klub Verboten financially as hard as any other business in the events industry. Using the time available we supported local creatives and business by hosting charitable digital events with Videokabine and opening the Verboten Online Shop which helped local makers and crafter of our community to grow their businesses.
Thanks to the Arts Council England we are now able again to provide safer spaces for marginalized communities that are put at risk by irresponsible journalism spreading hate and division. You can donate to the stop funding hate campaign here.