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Protest at porn industry conference

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anti porn demo, bloomsbury squareProtest against the Radisson hotel group supporting an industry that has a record of exploitation.

The Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel in London’s Bloomsbury is set to host a major conference for the porn industry on September 22-25 and women’s groups are calling for a boycott of the hotel group.

And on 22 September activists from the London Feminist Network (LFN) will be donning protective overalls and masks as part of a mass protest against what they describe as a ‘toxic’ industry.

The conference, Xbiz EU, is billed as ‘three days of unparalleled symposiums, networking and deal-making opportunities’ for the adult entertainment industry.

It is taking place amid growing concerns about the influence and harms of pornography.

The event will run sessions advising companies on how to maximise profits such as developing porn sites for mobile devices, increasing traffic to porn sites, and making money from live webcam sites.

The recent debates on government legislation have shown that the industry as it stands has some systemic problems with violence against women.

Whether you want to campaign for more ethical porn or you think the whole industry should be abandoned, taking money (and at over £600 per person for a conference, with over 250 people attending, that’s a lot of money) from an industry that currently makes money from practices that hurt women is problematic.

Porn really has nothing to do with free speech, as its advocates claim; it is about money.

And as  Close The Loophole points out, the hotel chain Radisson Blu promotes itself as a leader in ethical and responsible corporate practice, supporting a number of children’s and homeless charities to demonstrate their values.  These include the World Childhood Foundationa non-profit organisation with over 120 projects in 15 countries helping children at risk from abuse and exploitation.

Radisson Blu also promotes itself as a family friendly hotel, asking visitors to their Facebook page to ‘Check out our new children’s book for the explorative kids that stay with us at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Bloomsbury Street and Kenilworth hotels! They have great activities for exploring London.’

Meanwhile, objections to pornography voiced by women’s groups range from the physical and psychological impact on women involved in its production, to its frequently violent content and negative influence on society’s attitudes to women.

And a recent report from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner found that access to pornography influences children’s attitudes to relationships and sex, and that there is a correlation between holding violent attitudes and accessing more violent media.

Dr Julia Long, from the LFN, said: “In providing an opportunity for the porn industry to extend its global reach, Radisson Hotels are putting commercial interests before the well-being of women and children.

“While we are having a national debate on the harms of pornography and the government is planning to introduce ‘opt-in’ filters, Xbiz EU is holding sessions specifically aimed at combating any attempts to curb access to internet pornography.

“Pornographers don’t care about the damage their industry does. Their only concern is profit.”

“When we protested outside this event in 2011, a member of the Radisson staff covered up the hotel sign. They were clearly ashamed to be associated with the porn industry, so why are they hosting them again?”

Object this Sunday, too.

Or if you can’t get there, Close the Loophole has provided the following contact details for the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel:

You can tweet @RBEhotels to let them know you’re #notbuyingit and publicise to your followers that Radisson Blu say they have responsible business practices but their actions show otherwise.

Or you can email them directly at resbsh@radisson.com. They have an automated response that says they will respond to your email in 48 hours.

Keep it polite, educational and personal.

Remember that the person receiving the tweets, messages etc might not have been responsible for the booking and might have experiences themselves of either the porn industry or of sexual violence… or both.

Tell them their competitors, Omni and Marriot have already made the decision that pornography does not fit their brand.

Ask them why they think it fits their brand, why they want their business to be linked to supporting an industry that has a record of exploitation.

Let’s ask (nicely) for Radisson Blu to revoke the booking and make way for an ethical business practice that includes taking a stand against violence against women and girls.

You could also post a review on TripAdvisor; Google; or Yelp to make potential guests aware of Radisson Blu’s support of the pornography industry.

“We will be protesting in numbers on Sunday,” said Julia Long, and, she pointed out, ” We’re not going away.”

Join us.

The LFN protest will take place at 4pm this Sunday, 22 September, at the Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Hotel, 9-13 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QD. Please note this is a women-only protest.

For further info, keep an eye on this facebook page or @antiporn_lfn #pornistoxic.

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