Poof Doof apologises for photo brief demanding shots of ‘big muscles’ and ‘no girls’

Poof Doof apologises for photo brief demanding shots of ‘big muscles’ and ‘no girls’
Image: Image: Ann-Marie Calilhanna.

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.

In the brief, the club makes clear to photographers what kinds of images they do and do not want taken.

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.

You May Also Like

10 responses to “Poof Doof apologises for photo brief demanding shots of ‘big muscles’ and ‘no girls’”

  1. Ari New’s conduct is deplorable for a number of reasons.
    The same brief that he did/did not intend to be made public was the one he abided and adhered to for four years.
    If he left employment at his own accord, in protest at the brief, then that’d be different, but he was happy to be remunerated whilst taking part in the discrimination.
    Only when he was terminated did he choose to voice protest by sharing the brief amongst friends.
    In my view, Mr News morales and ethics are no better than those that wrote the document.

  2. They got the “ Doof” bit right, at least. How we detest gay/trans exclusion. Everyone should be welcome under the tent. A pox on their elitist/ exclusivist muscle-bound dance club for the body snobs — Greengay.org

  3. I don’t understand the outrage. They’re not a community organisation and they’re not Benetton. This is a business trying to market its product. Whether today or 7 years ago, they are entitled to be as selective as they wish and put forward any idealised images they want provided it doesn’t form the basis of their door policy. Looking to a nightclub or dance party organiser as a bastion of morality and virtue is the equivalent of expecting elite footballers not to gangbang in their spare time.

    • I think they should have stopped when they mentioned who and what they did want photographed.
      When you start talking about what you don’t want, it gets a bit rude.
      There should be no need to mention what you don’t want, because when you’ve mentioned what you want, it’s goes without saying that everything that’s not that, is excluded, or undesired.

  4. The representation of the community in Sydney as muscle bound models in print and on line is so toxic. It distorts body image, tries to define masculinity, it marginalises and isolates those of us who don’t fit the stereotype.
    I have heard young gays say they don’t go out because they are afraid everyone is gorgeous. Or they visit Sydney but would never go to a party because they are not muscled.
    Too sad.

  5. This actually makes so much sense to me now.
    I’m a lesbian and have been going to doof for a while now, yes I no it’s a mostly boys club but it always has good music and a great vibe so I fell in love with the place. I had my photo taken there a few times and on Halloween I had one guy film my costume for a full 10 minutes for a promo vid, And nothing, Neither photos or videos have ever been uploaded, I always thought I was just unlucky.

    And like I get it I get that PD is manly a club for guys and I respect that, for a long time I wanted to go but didn’t because I felt it could be rude of me to intrude on that space.

    if they what PD to be a strictly male club like the peel they should just say so and bar females from entering, but since that’s apparently “not what they stand for” they should show it,
    And if that means also including a few pictures of some hags having their “????omg first time at a gay club????” experience, then hey so be it.

    This document has really brought to light the ugly side of the gay community with the body/appearance shaming.
    I understand PD is a brand and it wants to push a particular image…. but still????.

  6. “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.

    Their website still has the tag “a gay club for homos”.

    When did they change their tag to include everyone? As soon as everyone saw their toxic brief?

    I smell BS!

  7. If they’ve changed their tagline, why does their website banner still say “A GAY CLUB FOR HOMOS”

    Susie Robinson is talking rubbish.