Unilad.com Takes ‘Banter’ a Step Too Far

Popular student website Unilad.com was shut down this week after one user uploaded a set of stories that caused offense to readers.

controversy homophobia lad sexism Unilad

Popular student website Unilad.com was shut down this week after one user uploaded a set of stories that caused offense to readers.

 

Unilad (.com) is an online “lads” magazine set up by students in 2011 and reaching over 70,000 “likes” in 2012. The site began with harmless stories of freshers testing their new-found fame and the next big ‘laddy’ catchphrase to shout out of car windows.

 

Since then the site has gained the endorsement of online advertisers, including betting agency William Hill. One “writer” Alex Partridge, of Oxford Brookes University took the black humour a little too far and with a string of clearly obscene articles Partridge lost favour with the online student community.

 

The stories made light of:

 

-homophobia
-mocking the disabled
-violence toward women
-underage sex
-rape
 
 
One article sickly quipped: "If the girl you've taken for a drink…won't 'spread for your head', think about this mathematical statistic: 85% of rape cases go unreported.
 
 
"That seems to be fairly good odds."
 
 
The piece concluded with the sign-off: "Uni Lad does not condone rape without saying 'surprise'."
 
 
Viewers of the site demanded that the offensive content be removed and that a formal apology be issued.
 
 
Even Unilad's regular readers were shocked by the increasingly off-putting content and several got in contact to tell the site owners how out of touch they were.
 
 
The incidents came to a head with Facebook groups like “Complain about Unilad and get the pigs shut down.” ”Complain about Unilad” was created by concerned citizen Alana Tortuga and provided a range of addresses, encouraging readers to communicate their displeasure en masse.
 
 
The page was met with many positive responses, with one reader pointing out the jail time two men got for promoting the London riots on Facebook as being just as good a response to this situation.
 
 
At Exeter University students were equally unimpressed. John Spark, a third year Mathematician said) “I mean… there’s freedom of speech and then there’s things like this, which are just so far over the line they stop being acceptable or in the interest of the public.”
 
 
Luckily Tortuga’s efforts were successful and Unilad broke under the pressure, issuing this apology on their website:
 
 
“We would like to make a public apology as it appears that some of the content previously published on this site has caused some distress.
 
 
"The content in question was un-called for and should in no way have been published, and we can assure you it will never happen again. Any grief this may have caused you, we apologise for. We took things too far.”
 
 
Despite William Hill withdrawing their endorsement, Unilad goes live again in 10 days’ time.
 
 
What's your view on the Unilad fiasco? Let us know by commenting below.