Leeds club at centre of ‘rape banter’ row loses licence

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A Leeds nightclub which sparked outrage after hosting an event whose promotional video alluded to sexual violence against women has been temporarily stripped of its licence and banned from holding similar events.

Mezz, in Assembly Street, has had its club licence suspended for three months. The current owners have already closed their doors and the building is up for sale. Any new owner would have to apply for a new licence.

Protestors outside Leeds Civic Hall.

Protestors outside Leeds Civic Hall.

Tequila UK, who promoted the recent ‘Freshers Violation’ night which led to protests, has been banned from the venue entirely by the council but has already moved its next event elsewhere in the city.

Sergeant Rob Fullilove, from West Yorkshire Police, told a Leeds council licensing panel that “some gross errors of judgement” had been made by club management.

However Mezz bosses said they had been operating trouble-free in the city for 13 years, and there had only ever been a “handful” of incidents. They denied there had ever been “major problems” at the venue.

The club’s security supervisor said the controversial ‘rape banter’ video was “deplorable”, and admitted the club had decided to go ahead with another Tequila UK event a week after the Freshers Violation night, against police advice.

Sam Welply, owner of Tequila UK, told the panel the video had been made by a student. He admitted it was “highly inappropriate” and said it had been taken offline quickly. Mr Welply added the firm’s promotional nights - as well as its web materials - have now been “cleaned up”.

Speaking after the decision to strip the club of its licence and ban Tequila UK from the venue, campaigner Freya Potter, 20, said: “It sends out a good message.”

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