We wrote an article many moons ago covering what ‘guestlist’ was and what it meant for the many club goers of London’s private members clubs such as DSTRKT.
What was written is as true then as it is today.
Starting iclublondon I wanted to create a PR business where people didn’t feel left out or excluded from London’s top nightspots and events. However, it quickly hit me in the first weeks of starting the business that certain club venues don’t hold that same view. It’s not about the money, or the race – FYI many clubs hand out bottles of alcohol they’d normally charge hundreds for, for free; and people of all races party inside these clubs.
It’s all about perception.
Private clubs garner the perception that they are an ‘elite’ destination by employing the act of exclusion. Creating the perception that not everyone is ‘privileged’ enough to get in. Bouncers and door staff use all kinds of reasons for rejecting people at the door. Either your shoes look like trainers, there are too many of you or maybe in this most high profile case, it’s allegedly down to being ‘too dark’ and ‘too overweight’.
It’s all lies, the only truth, is it’s all bullshit.
We’ve worked with DSTRKT in the past and don’t condone the alleged actions taken by the door staff towards the 4 ladies on 28th September 2015. But the truth is, we can’t say that being rejected at an elitist private club hasn’t happened before and hasn’t happened across a widespread number of private members clubs in London. The lady who mainly works on the door of DSTRKT is black. The events manager of the club is a relatively dark skin South American, funnily enough no publication or story covering this incident states those facts. To say that this is racism coming to the fore is an obvious conclusion, but I think there’s more truth to it than that.
People need to acknowledge that underneath the surface of many metropolitan cities, there is a class divide. Be you lower, middle or upper class, whether you choose to accept it or not, it does exist. And these private members clubs preferably want to service those in the upper end; that’s why they are private. So everyone who is perceived to be a big shot or ‘good looking’ receives no hassle (usually free) entry, be they black, white or whatever. For everyone else there is guestlist (which is usually not free). To be perfectly truthful, the chances of the majority public being granted entry via guestlist vary from slim to none, depending on your association with the private club venue (via a promoter or someone else) and how you arrive at the door.
As mentioned this type of exclusion isn’t new, it didn’t just appear when these ladies arrived at DSTRKT. For sure it’s not fair in many cases, but it will probably live on in these types of clubs for as long as they’re around. It’s not against the law to reject entry to a private members club, by their very definition, that’s what they’re setup to do.
So what now? The following DSTRKT protest was warranted, and we hope it sends a clear message to club owners and managers that for the large majority of us, any such alleged behaviour won’t be tolerated. No one is going to lay down and take it. We hope it leads to a more open minded stance with regards to entry at ‘top elite’ clubs.
We at iclublondon never judge our guests on appearance and will never knowingly advertise or promote clubs which judge our guests based on their race; it’s against our ethics as a business. We can’t speak for other promoters and other promotion teams, we can only say not many (at this time of writing) have spoken up about it; and that in itself is a shame.
Lets turn this negative situation to a positive one. Let’s move forward, and enjoy the great London nightlife experiences we’re all entitled to.