Cargo, a nightclub in Manchester in the UK, received criticism after hiring a dwarf, Greg Doherty, to play a leprechaun for its St. Patrick's Day party this Friday night.
Cargo, a popular student night club, canceled plans for its "leprechaun meet-and-greet" on St. Patrick's Day after receiving pushback.
While Cargo has scrapped its "leprechaun meet and greet," the Rumour Fridays at Cargo Facebook page was still promoting it on Friday:
According to the Manchester Evening News, promoters DNA Events Manchester sent a flyer promoting the event to all students on its mailing list earlier in the week that said: "This Friday we are hosting Manchester’s biggest Paddy’s Day event at Cargo.
"There’s a huge club dressing, plenty of Irish hats and handouts and we’ve got our own dwarf leprechaun that will be going round the venue taking pictures all night."
An Irish student living in Manchester told the Manchester Evening News that they received the flyer and found it highly offensive.
"Obviously this is highly offensive. I’ve suffered high levels of racism, which doesn’t seem to be held in the same regard as other kinds of racism in the UK. And this stereotypical leprechaun business is just ridiculous," the student told the publication.
"I was shocked but not surprised when I saw it. This kind of casual racism toward Irish people in the community is nothing new, particularly around this time of year."
The student said they have regularly experienced anti-Irish racism while living in Manchester, stating that their accent and culture have been mocked frequently.
"There appears to be an expectation as an Irish person that we will laugh it off or tolerate treatment that would not be accepted by other ethnic groups which is really concerning in this day and age."
However, Gregory Doherty, who had been booked to play the leprechaun for the event, told Manchester Evening News: “As you can imagine with a name like Doherty I am of Irish descent. Both my parents are Irish and I carry an Irish passport. I am incredibly proud to be of Irish heritage.
“I do not consider dressing up as a mythical creature offensive/or a racial slur against the people of Ireland.
"Not sure if you’ve ever travelled to Ireland on Saint Patrick’s Day, but the iconography of a leprechaun is as iconic as a shillelagh or a shamrock.
“I am sure these Irish cultural icons would not be considered ‘offensive’ or a slur against the Irish people. Of course, I cannot speak for all of the Irish living in Manchester, but I suspect you are listening to a vocal minority.
“The problem with cultural icons like George and the Dragon [or] wearing Viking helmets [or] dressing up in a kilt on feast days and holidays - it’s not really the iconography of the image, it’s the people wearing them. It’s the association with drunk and disorderly behaviour. That is what people are offended by.”
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In a statement, DNA Events told Manchester Evening News that they were aware of "some negative press" surrounding its event.
“DNA have worked with Greg from the Minimen agency for over a decade, alongside hundreds of other entertainers from all backgrounds and disciplines to provide the highest calibre of entertainment and showmanship. We're proud to work with a wide diversity of performers and we have the utmost respect for Greg and his profession.
“That being said, we also understand the importance of listening to our customers and making sure that the entertainment we do provide is done with sensitivity towards the issues of race and culture, alongside those of inclusivity and diversity.
“As such, we have taken the decision to cancel this element of the show while we consult with all of our entertainers, agencies and performers to ensure that we are promoting these important values which form the backbone of our business.”