Club night Poof Doof apologises for insensitive photo policy

Melbourne based gay club Poof Doof is in ‘damage control’ mode after a copy of its photo policy was shared online sparking community outrage.

The document which was supplied to photographers gives strict instructions on who should and who should not be photographed at their events. The policy states “Photos are only to be taken of boys with muscles. Big ones. The kind of muscles that come about from spending at least five sessions a week at the gym.”

There are strict instructions that no women should be photographed, and only the best looking drag queens would make the cut. There’s also a rule that no “skinny boys in burgundy t-shirts and chinos” should be captured because “There is nothing interesting or cool about them.”

The club describes those who make the grade as ‘power poofs’ whose photos get to be included on their website and in marketing materials.

The General Manager of Poof Doof, Susie Robinson, has confirmed that the brief is real. Robinson told Star Observer that the brief was no longer part of the club’s identity and had been shared online maliciously by a photographer who had recently been let go.

“[The brief] was given in a meeting years and years ago, and kept to use against us,” Robinson said.

“It’s a shame that this particular photographer felt he had been so wronged [by being terminated] that he really wanted to have as much negative impact on our brand as possible.

“We’re really devastated. A lot changes in eight years, and that brief isn’t representative of who we are today.”

Robinson it was clear that the club had moved on because they had changed their tagline from “A Gay Club for Homos” to “A Gay Club for Everyone”. The club’s website however still has the former tagline on its homepage.

One the club’s Facebook page Robinson clarified that the policy had not been used for at least seven years.

Photographer Ari New has disputed Robinson’s assertion that the brief was shared online in a deliberate move to hurt the nightclub. The photographer said he had shared the brief in a private online chat, and it had subsequently been shared more widely.

New told Star Observer that his termination from Poof Doof had nothing to do with “ill feelings” and he had never had any intention of causing any reputational damage to the club.

“After four years working for Poof Doof and a total of ten years working consistently, loyally, and respectfully on the scene, it’s quite clear my intentions have always been to provide the best service for the LGBTIQ community and to help create and capture memories,” he said.

“I had intended to respond to my termination in a professional manner via email with the owner and had drafted an email, which, for obvious reasons, can’t be sent now.”

A Perth version of the popular club night was launched in 2016 and had occurred regularly at Connections Nightclub every couple of months, their last event was a Halloween party in October 2018.

Tim Brown from Connections Nightclub told OUTinPerth that the Poof Doof photo policy had never been used at Connections. Connections has always had an inclusive policy and would never use or write such a brief. Brown said that Connections had severed ties with Poof Doof several months ago.

Members of the LGBTI communities have flooded Poof Doof’s Facebook page with negative comments with many people calling on the venue to make a substantial donation to an appropriate charity. The club has answered every comment individually and repeatedly apologised for the policy saying it never should have been used.

News of the controversy has quickly spread around the world and been reported on queer news sites in the USA and Britain.

OIP Staff