Dancing Pope club flyer 'offensive'

A FLYER promoting a night at a club in Ipswich has been denounced as offensive, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will announce today .

Lizzie Parry

A FLYER promoting a night at a club in Ipswich has been denounced as offensive, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will announce today .

The Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) said they had won their challenge against the flyer.

ISCRE brought the complaint before ASA after members of the Polish and Catholic communities voiced their distress at the material depicted.

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The flyer displayed an image of the deceased Polish Pope John Paul, holding a bottle of beer and dancing with a blonde woman wearing a short dress.

It was distributed to promote a night called 'Beserk' at Club Fire on Tacket Street.

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Sheila Soltysik, secretary of the Ipswich Polish Club, said the offensive material had been brought to her attention by a local Polish girl.

“She said it had caused a lot of offence within the community,” she said. “The sheer volume of the reaction is what made us take the matter to ISCRE.”

Mrs Soltysik and her husband Andrew, of Burnham Close, said they were very pleased at the outcome, and the help they received from ISCRE.

“We were pleased with the way in which ISCRE took our complaint so seriously and then took up the challenge on our behalf,” they said. “It is unfortunate that the thoughtless actions of a marketing idea has created dismay amongst the Polish community and Catholic religion by depicting figures of high moral standards amongst ideas of inappropriate behaviour and surroundings.

“Perhaps to some it may have innocent connotations but to the majority of sensible people it is deeply upsetting.”

Mrs Soltysik added: “It was hugely offensive, they cannot be allowed to get away with doing things like this, it could have caused real problems, I think we caught it just in time.”

Jane Basham, director of ISCRE, said she was “delighted” the views of the community had been heard and the offensive nature of the flyer had been recognised.

And she encouraged other people who had been a victim of discrimination to draw confidence from this decision, and speak out.

“The depiction of the deceased Polish Pope particularly was clearly offensive and ISCRE believes that discrimination based on religious grounds is as abhorrent as any other,” she said. “I hope this will send a strong and important message across Suffolk that our businesses have an important responsibility to all of Suffolk's faith and wider communities.

“I am disappointed that neither the publicity company nor the club has offered any apology directly to our Polish and Catholic community,” Miss Basham added.

Club Fire was unavailable for comment yesterday.

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