What is it with people these days choosing to push boundaries with party themes? Sometimes, these ideas are playful and fun; for example, a few of my friends throw an annual 70s Porno Party wherein we all wear gold, rollerskates and chest hair. It’s lovely. Sometimes, these ideas are terrible; for example, that sorority from Penn State who assumed all Mexicans are impoverished drug addicts. Not so lovely, and that is why they were publicly ridiculed. Of course, not everybody learns the “be creative, not cruel” rule when it comes to parties; now, Flaunt magazine wants in on the good ol’ racist action, too.
This year, the magazine teamed up with Le Baron, as well as sponsors True Religion and Smashbox Studios to create a Coachella party with the theme of…
….wait for it…
No, really. You read that right. Guantanamo Bay. You know, that little detention camp where prisoners and the Red Cross have reported inmates being beaten, deprived of sleep, confined to tiny and cold cells, psychologically abused and all sorts of other forms of cruelty that we as a society have deemed violations of human rights — all of which are apparently excellent inspiration for p-p-partying.
According to Refinery29, who broke the story yesterday, the invite, accompanied by a David LaChapelle photo, says: “The watering hole, the first building ever built in Coachella, CA, will feature playful torture by Smashbox Studios with beats poured by French music and fashion label Kitsuné. This one will go until dawn.” Yeah, that’s a waterboarding joke, the kind that only pops out of bored people desperately trying to stay interesting.
Fortunately, its sponsors have seen the light; both True Religion and Smashbox Studios have pulled out. The former told Refinery29 that they were out, and in a statement to NY Mag, Smashbox said:
Smashbox Studios will no longer act as a sponsor to Flaunt’s Coachella after party. We were not informed of the inappropriate theme prior to the release of the invitation today. We feel strongly that even with a new event title, the feel good atmosphere of the party has been tainted.
As for Flaunt, Buzzfeed reports that a representative from True Religion told them:
“In its 15-year history, Flaunt has not shied away from controversy or provocation. We routinely cover topics of social and political contention. At our event, we intend to create an atmosphere of fun, and the spirit and theme were never intended to cause offense or harm. Guantanamo has been controversial from its inception, and that an unresolved human rights issue is again fetching headlines is, in our opinion, true to our aims as a publication. We value and respect the public’s concern and are taking action.”
Oh, okay. Well, as long as you never intended to cause offense or harm and that you were just trying to “fetch headlines”! Those sentiments mean so very much, after all, when you’re giggling about an “unresolved human rights issue.”
As much as I wish that Flaunt would just disband this whole Guantanamo party, I know they will not because there’s no doubt in my mind that this is almost exactly what they wanted to happen (minus the sponsors pulling out) — controversy, anger, outrage. All publicity’s good publicity, right? Wrong (but only if you have morals, I s’pose). Anyway, if you or anybody you know goes to that party, let me know what happens. I’d love to hear if they give blindfolds and attack dog figurines in the swag bags.