A handful of Sydney nightclubs are copping it over their Anzac Day party posters, with ads featuring buff models and popstars styled as sexy soldiers leaving the RSL and NSW Government screaming scandal.
As News Corp Australia tells it, these nightspots — including The Colombian, The Watershed and Stonewall Hotel — stand accused of “trashing the memory of fallen diggers” with their racy promos spruiking “sexy sailor” and “best ab” competitions as part of their Anzac-themed festivities.
Image: News Corp Australia
NSW Veteran Affairs Minister David Elliott is especially cross, vowing to have the clubs referred to the Commonwealth for investigation and possible prosecution for “unauthorised use of the Anzac name”.
“I am concerned at the way ‘Anzac’ is used for commercial gain without any apparent consideration to veterans and war widows,” he says.
“As long as I am the Minister I will not allow individuals or organisations to use the day we commemorate the sacrifice of 100,000 fellow countrymen and women in any way that disrespects their legacy.”
While Oxford St dens Stonewall and The Colombian in the rainbow heart of Darlinghurst have opted to plug their Anzac Day parties using shirtless beefcakes dressed as defence personnel, Darling Harbour’s Watershed has opted to use images of A-grade popstars Rihanna and The Weeknd clad in cheeky military attire to spruik their public holiday eve bash.
Image: News Corp Australia
Vice-president of the North Bondi RSL, James Brown, has blasted the clubs for “trivialising the memories of fallen soldiers”, while ex-RSL President Rod White has dubbed the ads “shocking” and “unethical”.
“These clubs shouldn’t be latching on to the word Anzac in this manner,” the Vietnam vet says. “It’s disrespectful to the dignity and heritage of Anzacs.”
There’s apparently a law from 1920 which states permission from the Veteran Affairs Minister is needed before anyone can use the term ‘Anzac’ in a commercial context, and the Government has told News Corp that it’ll be looking into these clubs’ ads to investigate any potential breaches, which could see them slapped with a fine of up to $51,000 or 12 months’ jail time for the individuals responsible.
Music Feeds has reached out to the affected venues for comment, while a Watershed spokesperson has told News Corp that its promo’s reference to Anzac Day eve was simply “an indication of when the event was being run”.
The venue is also giving a discount to military personnel on the day, and will have a “karma keg” set up with all funds to be donated to a defence charity, while the Stonewall’s site says it’ll be collecting donations for veteran’s charity Soldier On.