The Leamington club in the centre of a row over allegedly “sexist, racist and violent” wallpaper has described the petition against them as “flawed and misleading”.
Moo Bar, which hosts nights such as Nana’s Palace and Jackers’ Delight, has been criticised for its new wallpaper which consists of advertisements for prostitutes.
Warwick Anti Sexism Society (WASS) launched a petition, which has reached just shy of 3000 signatures, calling for Moo Bar to rethink its decor.
But the club has described the petition as “flawed and misleading” and “refute any suggestion that they are fabricated, sexist, racist or violent”.
In a statement, the bar said the pictures are not fabricated but are original “kink cards” from the 1980s used in the sex trade and often found in telephone boxes.
A spokesperson said: “We felt their artistic use in the bar…would arouse debate about the nature of art, especially with the explosion of street art over the past two decades and the change in moral values concerning women and prostitution.
“We can only say sorry if we’ve upset anyone, but the very nature of art through history has often been divisive and controversial.”
The club added: “The kink cards were a small part of the overall scheme and not one comment has been made about the juxtaposed images of the near naked male models which form an integral part of the overall scheme. We think this silence speaks volumes.”
WASS have given a response to the comments. President of WASS Sophie Rees told the Boar: “The choice of wallpaper has generated discussion, and the overwhelming response is one of disgust and of the view that the images are sexist.
“The owners wanted to garner a response – they have almost 3,000 people telling them what they think. WASS believes the owners should listen to our voices.
“We appeal to them to think about how the representation of women in this way actually reinforces the notion of women as sex objects, more so than generating conversation about art.”
Ms Rees also responded to the comment regarding the silence over male models featured, arguing that the two are incomparable.
She said: “The ‘juxtaposition’…is interesting since the images of male models are in the women’s toilets and are huge, imposing images with the men looking directly down the camera lens. These images in our opinion are not comparable to images such as those of women from behind bent over, or with their legs wide apart.
“The use of these types of images merely reflects sexist imaging which we are exposed to every day of our lives, WASS does not accept that this in any way challenges or generates constructive dialogue about the stereotyping of men and women.
“Comparing modelling and prostitution is also problematic since the two are very different.”
Moo Bar also confirmed police visited the bar and were satisfied the wallpaper breaks no laws.
The image, originally highlighted by WASS on the petition, which depicted an advertisement for a ‘black runaway slave girl seek[ing] a plantation master’ has been removed.
“We can confirm that we have removed one of the images – from more than 25,000 present – that has caused most concern,” said Moo Bar’s spokesperson.
But WASS have encouraged the bar to meet with the society and to read the comments on the petition.
“It is clear that people are not only concerned about the single image, but about the sexism inherent in appropriating these images for use in a bar,” added Ms Rees.