Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation, a grassroots campaigning movement is calling on Switchfoot to withdraw from a planned live performance at City Beach surf store on Queen Street, Brisbane this Thursday afternoon (23rd February).
City Beach, the youth retailer hosting the band, has come under fire for selling clothing with pornographic images, as well as accessories and other porn-themed items including wallets, hats, pencil cases and iPhone covers.
City Beach sells the U.S. clothing brand Two In The Shirt, more commonly known as TITS, a brand renowned for using famous porn stars as the models for their designs. The brand was nominated for an award at the pornography industry’s annual award ceremony last month. TITS brand invited fans via Facebook to come to the Adult Video News (AVN) Expo, where they could meet the porn stars featured on their clothing.
City Beach also came under fire in December after a Year 8 boy brought a pornographic pencil case to school he had purchased from the store. Despite statements from City Beach that the pencil cases would be discontinued, they remain in stores as a part of ‘Back to School’ sales. City Beach has ignored communications from former customers.
Last year Collective Shout published an open letter urging retailers to cease the sale of pornographic menswear. Signatories included child advocate and TV presenter Noni Hazlehurst, The White Ribbon Foundation and authors Steve Biddulph and Maggie Hamilton. A petition on social change website change.org has attracted more than 1400 signatures calling on City Beach to remove pornographic items from sale because of the message to young people that women are sexual objects for male entertainment, always willing and available for sex.
WA activist Caitlin Roper made a formal complaint against City Beach to the Human Rights Commission last year, arguing that openly displaying pornographic imagery in their stores was a form of sexual harassment. While sexual harassment laws prohibit the display of highly sexualized material in the workplace, City Beach refused to remove the offending clothing from sale.
After ignoring complaints, protests are being scheduled outside City Beach stores around the country. The first protest was held in Sydney two weeks ago.
Spokeswoman Caitlin Roper said Collective Shout was disappointed a respected band like Switchfoot, in Brisbane on Thursday, would associate itself with City Beach.
“We have contacted the band but not had a response. It’s not too late for them to pull out. We are sure there are many stores who believe in corporate social responsibility, and who would be happy to host Switchfoot,” Ms Roper said.