The London Dungeon has issued an apology after the tourist attraction’s PR team posted “offensive” Valentine’s Day jokes about fat women, sexually transmitted disease and dead prostitutes on its official social media accounts.
Critics said the collection of images was misogynistic and offensive.
Merlin Entertainment, owner of the spooky London attraction, said it was “very sorry” for the campaign and has deleted the tweets.
The group said it had wanted to run a “dark Valentine campaign” to promote the London Dungeon, in which visitors are taken on a tour through London’s dark history.
One of the jokes read: “What’s the difference between your job and a dead prostitute? Your job still sucks!”
Others said: “Jack the Ripper just messaged. He wants to Netflix and kill” and “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’ve got genital warts, soon you will too.”
Social media users condemned the “fat shaming” posts and trivialization of violence towards sex workers.
One Facebook user wrote: “I see you deleted your ‘joke’ about dead prostitutes. Who decided such disgusting posts were suitable marketing??? Especially for a family attraction. Has certainly put me off returning.”
Another user wrote: “First time the London Dungeon has actually been creepy.”
— EastEndWomen'sMuseum (@EEWomensMuseum) February 15, 2017
Rebecca Reid, a columnist for the Telegraph, said: “The biggest issue here is taking violence against women and turning it into a joke or a cheap marketing ploy.”
She told the BBC: “Just because these rapes and murders happened in the past doesn’t mean they are fair game.
“Violence, rape and murder are all still a very brutal reality of life for modern day sex workers and these flippant tweets show no awareness or respect for that.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for London Dungeon said: “We apologize that our social posts caused offense. Our ‘Dark Valentine’ campaign was a range of posts aimed to highlight the darker side of history and create debate and conversation.
“As a brand we strive to entertain our guests so they can enjoy the London Dungeon experience – both in our attraction and on social media.
“However, on this occasion we recognize that some of the topics many felt were inappropriate and therefore we apologize for any offense caused.”
View the Facebook post below:
The company issued a longer apology to the press that read:
We apologise that our social posts caused offence.
Our ‘Dark Valentine’ campaign was a range of posts aimed to highlight the darker side of history and create debate and conversation.
As a brand we strive to entertain our guests so they can enjoy the London Dungeon experience – both in our attraction and on social media.
However on this occasion we recognise that some of the topics many felt were inappropriate and therefore we apologise for any offence cause.
But it still failed to satisfy some Twitter users.
— Cat Karskens