Update: We have included comments from former Poof Doof photographer Ari New below, who has said he didn’t publicly circulate the brief, and had no intention of hurting the club.
Melbourne gay nightclub Poof Doof has apologised for a brief it once used for new photographers, and said it is “no longer part of [their] identity”.
The brief, which was circulated via screenshot on social media this afternoon, has been criticised by members of the LGBTI community for its exclusionary language, and dismissal of women patrons.
Listed as a high priority are images of muscled men, drag queens, and “hot boys”, while images of women and “boys with bad skin” are prohibited.
“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” the brief reads.
“Poof Doof is a gay club for homos. No-one is here to see girls. Ever.
“Photos are not to be taken of skinny boys in burgundy t-shirts and chinos. There is nothing interesting or cool about them.
The brief added that anyone who looks like they’d “poked down a ten pack [was] out”.
General Manager of Poof Doof, Susie Robinson, verified that the brief was real but said it hadn’t been used in years, and alleged it was being spread online by a recently terminated photographer as retaliation.
“[The brief] was given in a meeting years and years ago, and kept to use against us,” she told the Star Observer.
“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 said Poof Doof no longer uses a photo brief anymore, and cited the club’s updated tagline as evidence of its growth.
“Initially [in 2011] we started out with the tagline ‘a gay club for homos’, but now it’s ‘a gay club for everyone’,” she said.
“We’ve changed, and our crowd has changed. It’s a whole new Poof Doof now than it was years ago.
“It’s for the entire community.”
The recently terminated photographer, Ari New, disputed Robinson’s claim, and said he had no intention of publicly circulating the brief.
In a post on Facebook, New said he had privately shared the brief in one of his group chats, with no “malicious intent” or desire for it to be publicly shared.
“The photo was sent around by one of the other people [without] my knowledge,” he wrote.
“After being informed the brief had been shared, I began private messaging people and pages to delete the posts.
“I received a phone call from [Robinson] and explained how it got out, and that I was trying to have the posts removed. I was very clear in pointing out that it was never my intention for the brief to be spread and I was extremely upset as it appeared like I personally sent it around out of spite.”
New added that his termination from Poof Doof had nothing to do with “ill feelings”, and that he had no intention of hurting anyone at Poof Doof.
“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.”
Robinson said the club in no way stood by the brief anymore, or the sentiments within it, and said she was sorry for the harm it may have caused.
“It was a top line brief that was shared in person with a photographer years ago, and it’s no longer part of our identity,” she said.
“But that doesn’t change the fact that those words were written, and for that we absolutely, unreservedly apologise. We absolutely don’t stand by it.
“We’re devastated that we would ever cause harm to anyone. It’s an extremely old document that has been circulated deliberately to hurt us by someone who has recently been terminated from the team,” she alleged.
“We had that discussion when he was about to be terminated and we knew he would retaliate, we’re just extremely sad he’s done it, and taken a community down with him.”
Robinson said she welcomed messages on Poof Doof’s Facebook from anyone wishing to discuss the brief or their concerns.