Does Night-time leisure have a diversity issue?

The night time leisure industry is open to all. That’s the message we’d all like customers to hear.

But is it the truth? After a string of high profile incidents involving ethnic minorities and the LGBT community, we ask whether night time leisure has an underlying diversity issue.

The Background

The night time leisure industry has always been a leader when it comes to equality and diversity. Many minority groups have a spiritual home in the night club scene. The LGBT+ community in particular, have built a thriving industry partying into the early hours.

But is that the whole story? Does night time leisure have an underlying diversity issue that it doesn’t want customers to know about?

Single gender groups and gay couples

In April of this year, Patrick Hannon and Jake Archer were allegedly refused entry to Jake’s Bar in Leeds because they were an all-male couple. Debate rages on as to whether this was a homophobic attack. Some say that it was just an example of a ‘mixed-group only’ policy that’s practiced by most of Jakes’ neighbour bars on Call Lane.

Either way, Jake’s Bar, and the external company they hire to run the doors, have come under scrutiny for outdated or offensive practices.

Even if this wasn’t homophobic discrimination, which would be illegal as well as immoral, policies that reject single-sex groups set a bad precedent for closedmindedness. The assumption that men in groups will cause trouble, or that no one wants to go to a club that’s full of men, is feeding gender stereotypes.

Racism in a London nightclub

Just a few months after the incident in Leeds, the night time leisure industry came under more scrutiny when Drama Park Lane night club in London was accused of charging ethnic minorities more than white people to enter.

One reveller’s mother tweeted:

If you read the replies to that tweet, it seems as though this wasn’t an isolated incident and many people of colour have experienced discrimination in London’s West End.

Some people have defended the club, saying that the black customers weren’t on a guest list but the white ones were. Or that they may have arrived at the club just after a cut off time where the price goes up.

Night time leisure should be equal for all

At very worse, these are examples of racism and homophobia at the heart of door entry policy. But in an industry that has worked so hard to be inclusive for minorities, we’d hate to think that’s the case.

The two incidents do have something in common. They are both examples of door policies that aren’t equal for all, even if there isn’t explicit discrimination. By creating conditions for entry that exclude people for reasons other than overcrowding or behaviour, you’re making the club a venue for the select few.

The Insurance side of things

If you are being discriminatory, there is no protection available.

However, you can purchase cover to protect you in the event of slander or defamation of character, where someone has made a false allegation against you and it has affected your business or its directors and officers. For more information on that, you should contact one of our team.

We want to hear from you!

Like most articles on this website, we’re not here to tell you what we think. We’re here to use our 20 years’ experience in the night time leisure industry to start important discussions.

So we want to hear from you. Do you think that the night time leisure industry has a diversity issue? Have you been turned away from a night club for a reason other than overcrowding or being too drunk? If you run a club, what steps are you taking to make your club inclusive for all?

To join in the discussion, comment below or leave a reply on our Facebook or Twitter pages.