Party promoters in Britain have been accused of cultural appropriation after featuring an “offensive” image of the Hindu god Shiva to promote their Bollywood-themed night, forcing the organizers to apologize.
English party organizers The Warehouse Project and Barcelona-based party crew Elrow are planning a Bollywood-themed night, scheduled to take place on February 18 and 19 at Albert Hall in Machester. The promotional poster, which caused much offense, depicts the Hindu deity Lord Shiva in caricature form, with a bird’s head, a cigarette in his mouth, a champagne bottle, and an iPhone in hand.
This image sparked social media uproar and accusations of cultural appropriation by the party-goers. The event page on Facebook was flooded with condemnations of the poster.
“You should be f****** ashamed of yourselves with that poster. Abhorrent appropriation,” wrote Henry Murray in a Facebook comment.
“To use a Hindu God who is worshipped across the world by Hindus to promote a ‘Bollywood’ night which majority of the audience will be Hindus goes beyond a joke, idiocy and foolishness,” added user Mikesh Nagar.
“Needs to be removed ASAP. Absolute cultural ignorance, just a cheap, quick way to jump on a trend through shock value. Morons!” wrote Vishal Bhatt.
Another party-goer wrote: Shame on this Poster! Appropriation of beloved cultural/religious Icon of Shiva the creator and destroyer.”
Just put my @elrow_ t shirt in the bin after that Bollywood poster sham. The ignorance and disrespect is beyond belief.
— carys williams (@CarysRWilliams) December 30, 2016
— Atul Kochhar (@atulkochhar) December 27, 2016
The “offensive” promotional poster has since been removed from the event page. The Warehouse Project made a statement, claiming “We want to apologize to anyone who has taken offense at the Elrow Bollywood artwork. This was not at all the intention—we have taken all feedback and comments onboard and have now changed the image.”
Elrow also offered their apology, saying to The Tab Manchester: “We would like to apologize to anyone offended by the Elrow Bollywood artwork released yesterday,” adding “We have taken onboard the feedback and changed the Bollywood artwork across the board.”