- LADbible’s summer party saw a performance from a topless burlesque dancer, much to the surprise of its staff.
- The UK-based viral publisher is in the middle of a campaign to change its tone and write content that tackles issues like gender equality and mental health.
- A LADbible spokesperson told Business Insider: “We were shocked that there was a performance by a burlesque dancer – we were not aware this was going to happen.”
- The company immediately apologised to its staff.
LADbible has had quite the hiccup in its effort to ditch its “bro-ey” tone and become a positive influence on its mostly male community.
The UK-based publisher, one of the biggest on Facebook with 32.6 million followers, took a few steps back in its efforts to become a brand which cares about issues like gender quality and mental health when a nearly-naked dancer appeared at its summer party – much to the shock if its staff.
UK-based gossip newsletter Popbitch reported on Thursday that at the company’s summer party in Manchester last Friday, staffers were entertained by “a topless dancing waitress, to the shock of many of the women in attendance.”
While the dancer wasn’t a waitress, LADbible did confirm to Business Insider that a nearly naked burlesque dancer did perform. And it took the senior members of staff, who hadn’t realised the topless-except-for-nipple-covers performance was part of the package, by surprise.
“For our staff summer party, we organised an Arabian-themed night at a venue dressed to match,” a LADbible spokesperson told Business Insider.
“We were shocked that there was a performance by a burlesque dancer – we were not aware this was going to happen, this absolutely isn’t something we had requested or approved, nor would we ever see this as appropriate for one of our events. We immediately spoke to many staff on the night to explain the situation and apologise for any offence caused, and followed up with an internal apology.”
The incident is a speed bump in the publisher’s ongoing effort to change its tone through its “Positively Social” strategy, moving away from sensational Facebook videos with a bro-focused tone to content that tackles issues its community cares about, like mental health, gender equality, and pollution.
It launched its content-driven UOKM8? campaign last year which saw a series of films focus on influential men and their struggles with anxiety, while its Trash Isles environmental campaign won eight Cannes Lions Awards at the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Arian Kalantari, cofounder of LADBible Group, recently told Business Insider’s Lauren Johnson: “We’re in a generation now where young people are a lot more sensitive to what’s going on in the world.
“We’re covering all sorts of topics that maybe we didn’t five or six years ago.”
Popbitch went on to insinuate that LADbible’s major advertising partner Smirnoff “must be thrilled” with the summer party error.
“The new ‘Free To Be’ partnership between LADbible and a prominent vodka brand ‘looks to inspire positive changes in UK nightlife and drinking culture by creating a more inclusive environment for everyone regardless of their gender, sexuality or otherwise,’ the newsletter wrote. “How’s that working out so far, Smirnoff?”
When Business Insider reached out to Smirnoff for comment, a spokesperson said: “We have spoken to LADbible and understand the circumstances involved.”
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