Dear Unilad: An open letter to @Uniladmag (because their enquiries email mysteriously stopped working)

Dear Unilad,

What the fuck is wrong with you? Seriously, I wanted to start of this open letter eloquently, but all I can do is wonder what is so wrong with you that you repeatedly promote rape.

You appeared on my radar last week when you posted an article advocating rape. I suspect the author of the piece thought he was being ever so funny by suggesting that the number of unreported rapes could play to a man’s advantage. Obviously you probably experienced quite a degree of backlash to this, because you quietly took it down. It’s still screencapped though, Unilad. People know what you did.

Then there’s this T-shirt, which manages to simultaneously advocate rape while implying that the wearer of the T-shirt suffers from premature ejaculation. Again, you quietly took it down, but forgot to remove it from your Facebook page. So we know what you did.

Your attitude to being called out on your behaviour is appalling. Tweeter @sazza_jay pointed out that what you were doing is wrong, and received misogynistic and homophobic abuse. Following your characteristic pattern, you then quietly took down the tweet, but we all saw it. It’s screencapped, Unilad. These days, nothing just disappears.

Your reaction to the controversy suggests that deep down you have some semblance of a clue that what you are doing is wrong, and here’s why: what you are doing is reinforcing a culture which facilitates rape. Your professed “banter” is dangerous: you are repeating rape myths which are often subscribed to by rapists. On university campuses, the area your laughable attempt at a “magazine” attempts to cater to, as many as one in four women will be raped.

Do you find this funny? Is it somehow amusing that up to a quarter of the women you might encounter (admittedly, most women will run a mile from any dickhead wearing your T-shirts) could be victims of a horrific crime?

If you don’t, it’s time to own up to your mistakes and apologise. Not some mealy-mouthed “sorry you got offended”, but a proper owning of your mistakes. You owe your followers an explanation, and help in participating in building a world without rape.

You are at a crossroads right now. Will you continue to be part of the problem, part of the culture which allows women to be raped while dribbling fools belch stale lager laughter over violations? Or will you apologise?

Here’s hoping you choose the right path.

Update: Unilad have issued an apology, but it fails on several fronts: (1) It has a “sorry you were offended” tone. (2) It’s only posted on Twitpic, not their main site. (3) It fails to show any understanding of why their behaviour is wrong. As I said, Unilad need to explain what is so wrong about rape jokes and work to challenging rape culture, not reinforcing it.

Update 2: A second semi-apology from Unilad, over on their Facebook page. They still haven’t explained why what they did was wrong. There are also an awful lot of vile, triggering comments making light of rape and threatening violence against those who got offended. While Unilad have apologised for those comments from their “fans”, such comments will continue to happen. This is exactly why rape culture needs challenging and why a site like Unilad needs to explain to its readers exactly why it will no longer be participating in a climate of violence: Unilad is trying to absolve itself of responsibility, when it is in fact responsible for these views. I screencapped the apology (and the first four ghastly comments) because I’m now wise to Unilad’s habit of taking things down

Update 3: Unilad’s website is now down, with the same semi-apology as on the Facebook group. Honestly. Wouldn’t it have just been easier to own their mistakes? A cynic might think they’re trying to cover their tracks and remove all traces of what they have done. When they relaunch, I’ll be watching…

About these ads

52 responses to “Dear Unilad: An open letter to @Uniladmag (because their enquiries email mysteriously stopped working)

  • NintendoLegend

    Thanks for writing this. Here’s hoping every other blogger in the world follows suit.

  • redheadfashionista

    They make Jay from The Inbetweeners look like Prince William.

  • Ben Jackson (@thisisnotariot)

    Damn Straight.

    Where are they based? Is anyone causing a scene?

  • Barbie and Elevator Guy: science and sexism | Edinburgh Eye

    [...] to criticism with homophobic/misogynistic abuse. Stavvers dissects their behaviour and reaction in an open letter: Your reaction to the controversy suggests that deep down you have some semblance of a clue that [...]

  • Rob (@GigerPunk)

    If their email contact form no longer works, you could always try emailing them at peartree610@hotmail.com – that’s the email address Alex Partridge (sorry, “FounderLAD”) gave when registering the domain. Along with what I suspect is his parents’ home address.

    I’m in **NO WAY** advocating people start sending nasty letters to the home address, just pointing out that it looks like he’s a stupid kid who didn’t know what he was doing and his parents certainly don’t deserve any abuse for his stupidity, they’re probably ashamed enough as it is.

    To reiterate – just because this kid’s stupid enough to register a website with his parents’ home address somewhere a simple whois lookup will reveal, before going on to post immature and repellent opinions (masquerading as advice) on said website DOES NOT MEAN people should then use that address for illegal harrassment. It just shows he’s a stupid kid, basically (like many of us are in our early 20′s really).

    I’d say his email address is fair game for trying to (legitimately) contact him though.

    • NintendoLegend

      “It just shows he’s a stupid kid, basically (like many of us are in our early 20′s really).” — With all due respect, that is bullsh!t. Age should never, never, ever be an excuse for unconscionable behavior and decision-making. Refusing to criticize kids is one of the complex myriad reasons we have issues like this. People need to be put in their place utterly and completely regardless of their age.

      Now, does that make it okay to murder him? No, of course not. But would the world be a better place if he were dead or severely injured or shown the same treatment he apparently advocates and would have no issue with? Very possibly. Regardless of his age.

      • Rob (@GigerPunk)

        Well, I wasn’t meaning it as an excuse for his actions, just admitting many of us probably did stupid things we regret when we we young. I suspect this will be one of his. just thought it was worth pointing out that just ebcause the information’s out there, it isn’t an excuse to abuse it.

        I think wishing he were dead is going a little far, I’ll settle with wishing he were intelligent. You never know, if he learns from this, maybe he’ll become a staunch campaigner for womens’ rights or similar? Whether anyone will believe him and not think it’s an attempt to sleaze up to women under the pretence of being caring and a new reformed man is another matter of course. But I suppose anything would be an improvement over the repulsive bile he’s been writing.

        Wonder what ‘Lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo and products like Lynx think of him? Proud they’ve created people who think this mentality is acceptable or ashamed? (Dumb question, I know)

      • Cel

        I basically read the entire website as a play to get into being a “Lads mag” journalist, so I’d imagine they’re watching with interest.

  • James Sherry

    Well said. you can hardly believe that this has gone unchecked. How is it that there are not better role models for young men such that this would never be written… :(

  • facets

    Is there something more robust being done *somewhere* with regards to this festering source of misogyny?

    Advocating criminal acts is a crime.
    Advocating and defending rape could easily be classed as hate speech and ‘gender’ is a protected category.
    – Both of these might make legitimate grounds for a complaint to the police (jurisdiction might be an issue due to internets but there are points of contact for this kind of information)

    A report to the media ombudsmen and similar authorities would provide an excellent starting point for further action.

    Writing to any advertisers and including those screen caps along along with a suggestion that their name should not be associated with such a publication will cut off revenue streams.

    Similar complaints to the hosting domain organisation can get the offensive content removed (we’ve done it before).

    Complaints to the institution (Oxford Brookes) might well offer some useful options – I doubt that a University would want to be visibly associated with this kind of material.

    If enough material can be collated then maybe a story can be written and offered to some print media – this could surely be wrapped up in a way that someone would print it.

    Just a few ideas – I’ve been involved in taking down a homophobic website before so I’ve got a little bit of experience in where to start with something like that but no time myself right now (thesis is due).

  • Pandora

    Wonderful piece (as usual). Thanks for putting these repugnant little fuckers in their places.

  • catastraspie

    Reblogged this on catastraspie and commented:
    I was going to write something on this, but I don’t think I could put it any better! :-)

  • Misogyny Must Not Go Unchallenged « nkamil

    [...] has written a good open letter to Unilad here, asking for a formal [...]

  • Jacob Richardson (@jjarichardson)

    We need to execrate such infantile, repulsive, obnoxiously dangerous and cretinous patterns of contrived existences from our society as a whole.

  • Richard Brennan

    They’ve issued another apology on their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/uniladpage?sk=wall

    The comments below it are vile and may trigger. Shows how many people who “like” Unilad on Facebook are rape apologists and misogynists.

  • BKLewis

    I went to Oxford Brookes and am shocked at the Unilad comments. There is definite proclivity of sexual assault around the campus. I know of several friends who were attacked walking through South Park at night. It’s such a known entity that a path from one campus to a student bar at the bottom of the hill (close to 4 halls of residence) has been dubbed ‘Rape Alley’.
    These guys should be ashamed.

  • TheNatFantastic

    For what it’s worth, I found the author of the rape-endorsing article on Facebook last week and sent him this:

    “Fucking maths, how does it work?

    Jamie, dear Jamie. I want you to do one thing for me now. I want you to go to your university fees office and ask if they do one-semester refunds. You will thank me for this if they do, as you’re likely saving yourself over £1,500 for two reasons:

    1) You are too dim to even spell Stephen Hawking’s name right, let alone realise that 75% of women not objecting to sex on a first date does not equal 75% of women having sex on the first date
    2) Rapists generally aren’t invited to graduate

    After you’ve done that, kindly accept that if one of your friends ever buys you a drink, you’ve 75% likely just consented to him ramming his cock into your arse. If you’re not that 75%, at least he might have the common decency to shout ‘SURPRISE!’ to give you a bit of a warning, you slag.”*

    Probably not very grown up of me, but, you know… ‘banter’…

    As for the founder of the site, he WENT to Oxford Brookes, but doesn’t now. So contacting them will do the sum total of fuck all. Might be worth complaining to the domain host though.

    *As an off-topic extension of this, next time someone tries blaming a female rape victim ‘because she was drunk’, ask them how they would feel if they were told to give up drinking or it would be perfectly permissible to violate them with a strap-on. Watching them try to perform the mental gymnastics is kind of fun.

    • For everyone who critizes..

      You are clearly, an imbecile. If you’d bothered to do any research, you’d know that Jamie did not write any articles. And just because he is associated with the site doesn’t mean he is a rapist.

      Clearly you have some psychological problems where you think ‘revenge’ is the best solution to something you think is a problem, despite it having absolutely no affect on you. Read my comment below, you moron.

  • Transphobia from Canadian Air: Making Democracy look Sexy | A Whole Load of Angry Noise

    [...] the Uni Lad debacle (full details here about this charming ‘lads mag’ that advocates rape and responds with homophobic abuse [...]

  • Ade

    William Hill have now pulled all their advertising, and the main site is down with a reprint of the ‘apology’. They say they’re planning to relaunch in a couple of weeks.

  • paco

    Puleeez….Alexander Partridge……..what’s yur Dad and Mum thinking now? Ur creepy stuff against women shld make yur parents cut u off of their funds.
    What’s chance u’ll nvr get a grlfrnd this yr!!!!! or EVER!!!!!

  • Unilad | nomadic utopianism

    [...] Stavvers is on the money with why this is so wrong right here. [...]

  • Chris

    Last week I didn’t know who UniLad were. Now I do. Mission success on their part.

    I doubt the sort of people who take the greatest offence to what they’ve said aren’t their target market, and the average punter won’t go checking for twitpic screenshots of apologies when deciding whether to read a site or not, so again, no loss to them.

    As much as these guys deserve to be shamed, articles like these give them more promotion than they could ever afford themselves.

    • stavvers

      Considering that within hours of this stink being kicked up, the website closed down I think that it’s quite evident that far from promoting we’ve actually done them some damage.

      Unless, of course, you think closing down is the same as publicity….

      • Chris

        I think that in 4 weeks when this is forgotten about by the masses (the web is a fickle thing) UniLad will be back, they’ll have a ton of linkbacks from articles like this (and thus, a higher pagerank) and a whole load more people will know who they are – even if it’s “just some name they heard on Twitter a while ago”.

        So I guess the question is whether you think you’ve actually “closed them down?” Because the notice on their site that says they’re reopening in 2 weeks seems to suggest otherwise.

        • stavvers

          Ah I see. You’re one of those little darlings who thinks people shouldn’t make a fuss about anything ever.
          A. The linkbacks are gone, as the site is gone, and I doubt they’ll be putting the rape-endorsing content back up because they’re terrified of legal problems.
          B. As you may have noticed, this has whizzed up the page rank to above their Facebook page.

      • Chris

        Just to clarify, I’m not defending them in any way – I hope I’m not giving them that impression. I’m just pointing out what I’ve seen many, many times before.

        As the saying goes – all publicity is good publicity – that phrase was coined for a reason. Judging by some of the comments on their Facebook page, there’s no shortage of people who don’t take such a view on rape jokes as us – and the publicity has brought UniLads to a lot of these people’s attention. If their readership doesn’t increase as a result of this, I’ll eat my hat.

        • stavvers

          Thing is, I doubt their readership will increase, due to the fact that utter pricks like the site, and it’ll be “watered down” following its relaunch as they’re all absolutely terrified of legal trouble.

      • Chris

        Stavvers – there’s no need to get personal – I’m not defending them. I’m just pointing out what years of web marketing and PR has taught me. Don’t be an arse about it.

        With regards to linkbacks – the last link on your article is to UniLad.com. Assuming they relaunch under the same domain, that link *will* benefit them. If you don’t want them to benefit, I suggest you remove it or add rel=”nofollow” to the tag.

      • John Loughran Colvin

        Chris is right, add the rel=”nofollow”, search engines don’t have morals. Without it, every person who reads this blog and clicks the link is, at the same time as increasing the ranking of this page, increasing the ranking of Unilad

  • Laura

    Brilliant source of information, excellent points and I enjoyed the tone you put on the whole thing (especially about “dickheads who wear your tshirts”) Excellent!!

  • jwcxi

    I used to write the music based articles for the website, and whilst some of the articles on the site may appear brash and crude, mine were a true reflection of club life and a realistic professionals view on nightclub politics and occurrences.

    The ‘rape condoning’ article was tasteless and disgusting, and I fully agree with people’s outrage over it. However, that specific article was published way back in 2010, and the theme of articles is not that of misogyny, or overt sexism, but a description of lad-culture. This might not be everyone’s ideal culture, but it is thus, and has to be respected to a degree. The website doesn’t offer advice, it is written to entertain, not to inform; and any articles are intended as a laugh, humour and not a serious reflection and insight into sexual or social issues, opinions or actions.

    The scapegoating has gone too far, I too am worried about facing any backlash to having been affiliated with the site, when all I did was report about what I saw in nightclubs and this reflected negatively on both men and women. I will not stand by and let my good name and writing be slandered and grouped with the one person that posted a sexist and disgracefully trivlialising article about rape. To be honest, it wasn’t even about rape there were just a few off hand comments which were inappropriate.

    Publishing his email address is disgusting, if you had privvy information and shared it that breaches the Data Protection act.

    The t shirts are a joke product, you can’t imagine that people actually wear them?

    I just urge you to look past the scape goat culture this has become enveloped in; and to maybe see that the site as a whole had good intentions and certainly my articles had nothing to do with the negative reaction it has received widely recently.

    Jack.

    • stavvers

      Sorry, remind me why any culture which condones rape and misogyny should be respected?

    • GigerPunk

      Jack – The email address (along with (I assume Alexander’s parents’?) home address) is publicly available information, revealed by a simple whois search against the domain name, so don’t cry “Data Protection!” or think you are in any way suited to telling people their actions are “disgusting” – what YOU say is “brash and crude” is far beyond that and saying the article’s been around since 2010 doesn’t excuse it, it makes it worse that it’s been around that long, influencing other fuck-knuckles into thinking this sort of behaviour is acceptable. If your mother or sister were raped I don’t think you’d be seeing the funny side – would you be asking them if their attacker said “Surprise!” first? Let’s turn it around, in case you have no female relatives or really don’t care about others – what if YOU were raped? How would you look upon all the people influenced by the site who think it’s just a laugh and a piece of entertainment? Sickened? Or laughing along with them?

      I urge you to look past the idiotic (and repulsive) lad culture you and the others responsible for this sad excuse of a site are obviously aping (and encouraging), take a long hard look at yourself and man up a bit – if you honestly DID find the article in question “tasteless and disgusting” and “fully agree with people’s outrage over it” you wouldn’t be trying to defend the site in any way, you’d want your articles pulled from the site and want nothing to do with it. The fact that you haven’t done this even now, let alone in 2010 when you were aware of that article being written and posted, speaks volumes about you.

      In your own words; “The website doesn’t offer advice, it is written to entertain” – The only people the site has entertained are the utter dregs of society (you know, the ones who probably WOULD buy and wear the t-shirts, laughing it off as ‘a bit of harmless banter’) who you’ve encouraged to continue behaving in the most reprehensible way possible. Well done for helping make the world that much worse – your family must be so proud of you. But if not, then hey, at least you’ve got the respect of all the potential rapists sticking up for the site on facebook, so that’s worth something, eh? With friends like those…

    • quiteirregular

      You claim that the articles offer a realistic view of the “politics” and “occurences” of student culture, but that they should not be taken as an “insight” into “opinions”, “actions” or “issues”. Whilst we try to understand what those statements might mean, and how they coud possibly be reconciled, perhaps you could explain why your concern for your “good name” manifests itself in a defence of this website, rather than simply an open declaration that you are disassociating yourself from it?

  • gabbylm

    Reblogged this on Life in Camden and commented:
    I was going to write about UniLad, but this says it all really. One thing that I think bears mentioning is that what makes UniLad more dangerous than the rest of lad culture is it is targeted at male teenagers about to, or having just arrived at university. They specifically wrote guides for lads arriving at university, etc, and before I realised what utter cunts they were, I admit, I read their guides.
    At Freshers’, especially, there are plenty of insecure young men, and the lad culture UniLad promotes is like a reassuring ‘peer’ group. ‘They get it. They get what it’s like being a lad who wants to get laid but is perhaps a bit nervous about it and doesn’t really have the confidence. They have the tips and tricks to work out women, cos they’ve always confused me.’
    And the sad thing is, I suspect a lot of that disgusting pick-up artist stuff might be effective at university – I wouldn’t know, but I doubt the wimmenz are any less insecure than the menz, and that insecurity is what the #lad preys upon.
    It’s a very formative time, I’ve found, and am still finding, the first months at uni, and as stavvers says, sites like unilad have to do more than simply apologise for being offensive cunts. They need to actively go against rape culture – there’s no reason that couldn’t co-exist with a light-hearted site for the lads.

  • concerned

    My 15 year old Niece was raped by a university student.
    He was imprisoned, and subsequently deported.
    He was bright, and from a wealthy family who live in a Europe.

    He was from the type of ‘lad’ culture pandered to by this person or people.
    I have heard them say that they are not responsible, and there are much worse sites, they are being taken out of context, along with other excuses.

    At the moment it is not clear exactly who they are, but more than a few people are looking forward to finding out.

    Names please.

  • uniLad, rape culture, and overdoses in Ireland | tenderhooligan

    [...] links to uniLad commentary from the week, but there are lots more out there: stavvers; thefword; ontoberlin; petitefeministe; and [...]

  • Amy Black

    If you dont like it. Then dont read it or log onto their page!
    X

  • bob

    sounds like you cant take the banter. im guessing you’re butters and are angry that a lad has never tried it on with you

    • Rob (@GigerPunk)

      Have you always been a worthless subhumanoid waste of flesh, Bob, or has it taken years of practice?

      Nice stab at attempting some grammar though, have to applaud you for that. Go have a lie down til the headache subsides and your mum’s mopped the drool off your keyboard.

  • For everyone who critizes..

    Ok, having actually met the CEO (he lives with my best friend at uni) I can confirm that he isn’t actually a ‘twat’. Nor is he a misogynist. Just a normal guy. The site is a satire/comedy site, obviously everything written on there is a joke. So you dont think its funny? Maybe don’t read it then. I also suggest you don’t listen to any Frankie Boyle material, watch any cartoons like Family Guy, visit sickipedia.com or read any lads magazines, like Nuts, Zoo etc. Maybe the comments were too far, but they have now apologised for them. The people who have commented on here with hints to ‘causing a scene’ and sending death threats…I think YOU are the ones with the problems. You are no better than the people you are criticizing. By sending the founders’ parents emails or horrible letters, well, I think that makes you just as vindictive as youre making UniLad out to be.

    The ‘surprise sex’ ‘joke’ has been doing the rounds for years. No, it isn’t funny, but you’ll see it everywhere you go. Oh and for all those who might comment that I don’t have the mental capacity to see how this would hurt peoples feelings – somebody very close to me was raped. It was a horrible incident. But she is not offended by these comments because clearly it is not a call for young boys to go out and rape women. That is like saying that antisemitic jokes will make everyone want to go out and kill jews. Duh. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence can see these comments are meant in a sarcastic manner. Clearly everyone claiming to ‘take offence’ (or the one facebook user who was ‘traumatised’ by the comments) doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together. Get a grip, people, and get over it.

    • stavvers

      You realise that your argument basically boils down to “I like a guy who thinks violent crime is funny then apologised when he started realising there were consequences to his actions” and the intellectual equivalent of “I’m not racist, my black friend likes it when I call him Sambo”, right?

      And this is why sites like Unilad are so dangerous. They brainwash stupid people into thinking this sort of shit is acceptable.

    • Sam Bogg

      You actually have a few things right in your comment. I, personally, do have a problem. The problem is the ‘culture’ UniLad promotes means that LGBT members of my university are not comfortable in my Union bar because it’s not safe. It means women can’t go to the bar without expecting to get groped or have a lewed comment made at them, it means that my rather colourful Uni has a union only occupied by white, middle-class, straight, males.

      I was ignorant of the existance of UniLad for a while, until it started appearing on my facebook newsfeed with pictures of passed out women in the street and jokes about their ‘availability’. Do I have to repect that?

      What happened to your friend was horrible, but whether or not she is offended is meaningless. There are countless men and women who have been raped who will never ‘get over it’. This is not, as you argue, their problem. The whole mantra of ‘banter’ is laugh are the victim. What satirists you are!

      As for your friend, who, let be frank, is a twat, if he enjoyed the kudos that went with being ‘FounderLad’, he should be fine with enjoying the responsibility of his creation.

    • gg

      Wow your compassion is overwhelming. Epic post too – I suggest you get a life.

  • Sexual Violence Round-Up | Femina Invicta

    [...] Twitter: Laurie Penny writes how Uni Lad’s “banter” is based on exclusion. And Another Angry Woman wrote them this open letter, and provided the image below, so funny :/ [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,213 other followers

%d bloggers like this: