BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A Bloomington nightclub for the 18-and-older crowd drew a firestorm of criticism over the weekend for a tweet that critics say supports “rape culture.”
The business, Kilroy’s Recess, directed the tweet at Indiana University alumnus Mark Cuban, who was visiting Bloomington over the weekend. The building now occupied by Kilroy’s Recess once housed Cuban’s own bar, Motley’s Pub, according to the Indiana Daily Student.
Motley’s was closed after being cited for having underage patrons, including one who participated in a wet t-shirt contest, according to the Dallas News.
That context is important for the tweet, which addressed Cuban directly: “@mcuban come check out your old place! Spoiler: We got rid of the wet t-shirt contests, but kept the underage girls.”
The tweet has since been deleted, and the business released an apology on its Facebook page Saturday:
We unequivocally apologize for last night’s tweet. We recognized immediately that our joke was made in bad taste and quickly deleted it from our account.
We take the safety of our customers very seriously and work extremely hard to provide a conducive environment to do so. We have worked with Culture of Care, our employees, and the authorities to create and maintain a safe and positive environment for our patrons and we will continue to do so moving forward.
Nicole Freeman, Director of Marketing
The backlash to the tweet came swiftly, and the Kilroy’s Recess Twitter account protected its tweets, meaning only confirmed followers can see the feed. The business’ Facebook page has also been changed so that it no longer includes reviews. Before that, the club had 30 reviews with an average rating of 1.1 stars, according to the Indiana Daily Student.
Even before this weekend’s controversy, the club had drawn criticism from some local leaders who were concerned that the 18-and-older business served alcohol. The club said it would only sell alcohol to people of legal age in a single designated area; those 21 and older are issued wristbands.
But the tweet drew sharp criticism from many in the Bloomington community. Local business Switchyard Brewing said it would not distribute beer to any Kilroy’s location. Kilroy’s has three Bloomington locations (Recess, Kirkwood and Walnut Street) with two more locations under different ownership in Broad Ripple and downtown Indianapolis.
“In response to the Kilroy’s Recess tweet, their attitude demonstrating a complete lack of respect for women and girls, Switchyard Brewing Company will not distribute to any Kilroy’s location or any of its affiliates when we open this January,” the company said in a video posted to its Twitter account Saturday.
The business said it was “disturbed and upset” by the tweet, adding that the comments did not “speak for the Bloomington small business community.”
— Switchyard Brewing (@SwitchyardBeer) August 27, 2017
Monroe County NOW denounced the Kilroy’s Recess tweet, accusing the business of promoting rape culture and calling for an apology.
“It is on us to hold businesses like Kilroy’s responsible for their mistakes that people’s—especially women’s—wellbeing in jeopardy,” the group wrote in a statement.
IU College Democrats also responded, saying “Bloomington is better than this. If we, as a community, want to tackle rape culture in any capacity, comments like this can’t be tolerated.”
— Monroe County NOW (@MonroeCountyNOW) August 26, 2017
Bloomington is better than this. If we, as a community, want to tackle rape culture in any capacity, comments like this can't be tolerated. pic.twitter.com/cLmEjs2O1x
— College Democrats at IU (@DemocratsAtIU) August 26, 2017