News | Mezz license revoked following student protest
Mezz nightclub has had its licence suspended for three months, following the backlash over Tequila’s ‘Fresher’s Violation’ video.
The decision to close the space until it is sold to new management was taken at a licensing review on December 9. The review follows Mezz’s announcement last Wednesday that it is to close its doors for good.
The Tequila night has also been permanently banned from the premises as part of the ruling. Tequila recently announced it will now be hosted by Halo nightclub, near campus.
West Yorkshire Police (WYP) presented evidence against Mezz, including a previous review of the venue’s license in 2007 following several incidents of disorder. They said the case was the result of “long-standing issues” with the Mezz club which had been given “multiple chances” and that “there was a reluctance to admit culpability” or cancel the Tequila night.
Among the issues raised were reported cases of severe overcrowding in the 400-person space and their conduct on social media. Tequila’s representatives were also questioned over ‘free-pouring’ alcohol into revellers’ mouths. A Mezz supervisor, Kenneth Dolecki, defended the practice saying that a non-alcoholic “juice” substitute was used instead of alcohol and packaged in tequila bottles.
Referring to the infamous Violation promo video Dolecki said: “No way would I condone any of that video. It was deplorable.” Mezz and Tequila’s management maintained that they were unaware of its content.
Dolecki said that following the backlash from the video a “thorough check” of the club’s activities was made on Thursday, October 17 and that he was “perfectly happy with everything we saw and heard.”
The Union’s Femsoc protested before the review and sat in on the proceedings. Protest co-ordinator Freya Potter said: “Clearly they’ve realised that they’ve done something wrong, and that they don’t stand a very good chance at this hearing.”
Equality and Diversity Officer Emma Friend, speaking as a representative of LUU and the Feminist Society, said: “The promotional material used by Tequila is an example of the trivialisation of sexual violence.” She went on to say that the Feminist Society “would like to start working together with the council and the police” to counter the trivialisation of sexual assault in other venues.
The owner of Tequila UK, Sam Welply said: “I don’t believe that any of the students who have been to our event over the last 21 years would accuse us of promoting rape.”
Speaking to LS after the verdict had been made, Councillor for Headingley, Neil Walshaw, said: “I think we’ve got a good result…It’s very clear to the judgement of all concerned that it’s Tequila UK who are responsible for the behaviour. It’s not the fault of the young people involved, it’s those in positions of responsibility who should know better.”
Photos: Leo Garbutt