TWO bands have cancelled appearances at Perth’s Amplifier Capitol in the wake of a public backlash over female staff being forced to wear low-cut tops.
This week a staffer at the inner-city club posted on Instagram the shirt that male staff wear and the one the owner wanted its women workers to wear.
Amplifier Capitol’s Facebook page was flooded with comments from people saying they’d never go back and demands for bands to cancel gigs there.
The New Zealand band The Beths’ April 12 gig page has now disappeared from Amplifier Capitol’s website and the Facebook event page is a dead link.
The band are instead playing at Badlands Bar on April 11, and they’ll also be playing with the Smith Street band at the Astor Theatre on April 13.
Storm the Sky have also cancelled a gig at Amplifier Capitol, putting out a statement saying the uniform policy was “blatant sexism and puts women at risk which is completely unacceptable and something we are vehemently against.
“We do not tolerate any such behaviour and want nothing to do with Amplifier Capitol moving forward. As such, we are moving our Perth show next Thursday night to The Civic Hotel.”
The heat’s on Heaton
LESS than a year after the birth of the #metoo movement, Amplifier Capitol has demanded its female staff wear a low-cut, breast-revealing top.
Known for their 80s nights, the venue was intent on going back to 50s when the club’s duty manager Artur Rafal posted on a private staff Facebook page: “To our amazing Bar Ladies, as we have been busy raising the dress code on our doors our focus is now shifting to bars—one thing that has slipped for a while is the tolerance of girls wearing the men’s uniform shirt while on bar—from next week I will be taking your men’s shirt back from you and replacing it with the ladies bar uniform shirt—let’s work together to get the dress code back to how it should be.
“This is compulsory,” he signed off with a peace sign.
Amplifier Capitol chairman David Heaton commented under the post, “as a condition of your employment, the team member is required to wear the uniform. If you don’t feel comfortable in the uniform then you are welcome to find employment elsewhere.”
But after one woman posted the difference between the male outfit and the women’s outfit on social media, a public backlash ensued, and Mr Heaton posted a 500-word apology on the Amplifer Capitol Facebook page.
“The proposed uniform change will not be enforced at the venue…the proposed changes were made in poor judgement, without full consideration of the implications for our female staff,” he wrote.
He said “comments that female staff already face sexual harassment as part of working within the nightclub industry, and that these uniform changes would only exacerbate the issue, have resonated with us”.
He said “it was wrong to comment that any staff uncomfortable with the changes should find employment elsewhere – this was a throwaway comment that I very much regret. I would like to make clear that no staff have been, or will be, fired in relation to the uniform issue”.
But some staff had already left, and the Voice understands that more progressive venues have offered them work.
Hospitality workers union the United Voice has offered free preliminary advice for any workers concerned about this, calling the management’s post “unacceptable behaviour”.
A lot of people weren’t satisfied with the apology, saying it’d only come about because the issue went public and if it weren’t for the backlash they would’ve got away with it.
One poster interpreted the apology as essentially saying “sorry I got called out for being a pig and in the current social climate am now realising that my pig-ness is becoming less acceptable by the day”.
Stories by DAVID BELL