Western Sydney Wanderers were left holding more than just a “rose with thorns” when they advertised a “heterosexual” singles night leading to a public outcry and a hasty apology.
On Monday, the professional football club announced a “Single’s Night at Wanderland” during their Round 26 match against Perth Glory at the Bankwest Stadium on April 4.
The advertisement on the club’s website asked its “single and ready to mingle fans” whether they were “looking for a rose among the thorns”. The announcement concluded with the line “Everyone is welcome, however please note this is a hereosexual event.”
The reaction on social media was swift, with the club being panned for being “tone deaf” “homophobic” and scoring an “own goal”. Following the criticism, the club edited the message to “Everyone is welcome”.
The club apologised. The Sunday Morning Herald quoted a Wanderers spokesperson, saying:
“We apologise for the wording and it has been removed from the event details. From our research, a singles night is often sexual-orientation based – which is a consistent theme across these types of events, and we were attempting to give our audience clarity.
“No-one is excluded. This is our first attempt to run an event like this at match and, if successful, we could host others in the future, including for our LGBTQI family.”
This is the second time in as many weeks that Wanderers have needed to respond to criticism on social media.
The Wanderers’ main supporters group, Red and Black Bloc (RBB) taunted fans of rivals, Sydney FC before the Sydney Derby with the following message on social media:
“In what would be a busy week for most ESFC supporters with Mardi Gras to attend, our takeover of Kogarah is imminent.”
The post received widespread condemnation on social media for being homophobic.
On February 27, the club issue a statement saying:
“Discrimination in any form is unacceptable. We are and always will be a fully inclusive football club.”