De School responds to criticism around racial justice, faces accusations of sexual harassment by security

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    Thu, Jul 16, 2020, 20:02
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  • The Amsterdam club has uploaded a podcast featuring a panel discussion where staff respond to complaints.
  • De School responds to criticism around racial justice, faces accusations of sexual harassment by security image
  • De School has shared a podcast meant to address recent criticism of the Amsterdam venue. The podcast features a panel discussion recorded this past Tuesday, July 14th, with the club's owner, booker and HR manager, moderated by Souhayla Ou-Oumar. Ou-Oumar presented De School staff with prepared questions, while a small in-person audience as well as online viewers had the opportunity to voice their own queries. Panelists were asked to address long-standing accusations of racism at the club which included a lack of diversity in resident DJs, the all-white office staff, consistent racial profiling by security and an overall failure to act on instances of discrimination raised by patrons, as reported by Malou Miedema reported for VPRO. In addition to the accusations of racial profiling, a number of queer clubgoers have come forward alleging incidents where security apprehended them for drugs at the door and said they would only be allowed entry in exchange for sexual favors, or that security would turn them in to the police should they refuse to exchange sexual favors. Despite these incidents being reported, the guests and their supporters allege De School leadership either did not fully address or outright ignored such allegations. Further criticism was aimed at the club for purporting itself to be a safe space while simultaneously brushing off these serious allegations, or banning those who made complaints. Over the course of the nearly three-hour discussion, the De School staff appeared surprised at a few of the charges and claimed they were not previously aware of some of the growing critiques mounted at them. In other parts of the podcast, however, it was acknowledged that some staff members were aware of internal failings and tried to raise such issues with management or self-monitor security’s behavior. The venue spoke about next steps, which included a pledge to create a new process for complaints, potentially changing their security team, a new "safer space policy" and minor changes to their office staffing. "[The] two [BIPOC] women who demanded a spot in the office are now under contract to work on a new plan... with decision-making power," they said of the latter staffing changes. So far no further details on these commitments have been offered. As Miedema also reported in VPRO earlier this week, since the Black Lives Matter protests erupted earlier this spring, the club has become a lightning rod for criticism around race and sexuality in the Amsterdam club scene. Listen to the podcast on YouTube here. (It is not available for embedded play.)