EUSA slam LGBT awards ceremony in blackface row
The Icon Awards have since apologised
Bikini-clad models in “blackface” at a Scottish LGBT ceremony have been condemned as “despicable”.
The Icon Awards, committed to breaking boundaries and pushing barriers, had models daubed head to toe in black paint at their ceremony.
In a statement the Black, Minority and Ethnic group said: “The use of this despicable practice is incredibly damaging and actively perpetuates the oppression of Black communities.
“In this context, it is particularly harmful to those who identify as both Black and LGBT+, for whom this incident is a reminder that they are not fully accepted, even within the LGBT+ community.”
The Icon Awards initially argued the black paint used was to bring a “statuesque” quality to their models rather than representing race.
In a second statement an enraged Edinburgh’s Students’ Union said: “We should never have had to issue our original statement, but it is even more unbelievable that a second statement had to be written, again calling for an apology where instead the team at Icon Awards has issued a defence of their despicable actions.
“We reject the Icon Awards’ statement and now call on the sponsors of the event to withdraw their support unless our calls for a full apology and removal of all blackface from promotional materials are met.”
They then began to tweet the 13 sponsors of the event asking if they supported the use of blackface.
In the furore American underwear brand Andrew Christian withdrew their sponsorship for the event.
A spokesperson for the fashion designer said: “When we saw the pictures, we realised that was not something we would like to support and we are not going to contribute in the future.”
— Liberation at EUSA (@EUSALiberation) July 17, 2015
The Icon Awards have since released another statement on Facebook, apologising for any offence caused.
The event’s manager, Michael Macfarlane, said there are now plans to remove the “blackface” models and added: “We want to build a platform to celebrate diversity, and we hope this decision will be welcomed. We also welcome an audience with EUSA to discuss the event.”
— Liberation at EUSA (@EUSALiberation) July 20, 2015
EUSA say they’re “pleased” with the outcome but added: “We are happy to meet with the Icon Awards but remain utterly disappointed that we have had to release two statements and place pressure on sponsors before the appropriate action was taken.”
In 2013 a group of Edinburgh Law students found themselves at the centre of a racism row after they “blacked up” for a Beerienteering event.
The President of the Law Society was forced to apologise after students dressed as “Somali pirates” for the “Around The World” themed pub crawl.