Great British Beer Festival addresses complaints over sexism

Organisers of the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) have issued a statement following allegations of sexism at the 2022 event, which took place last week.

Trade organisation CAMRA, which runs the festival, took to Twitter to address complaints and ask for feedback.

“Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that this year’s event was not the positive, inclusive and safe environment that CAMRA aspires to provide for everyone,” the organisation said as part of a thread.

The response came following several posts relating to sexism, including a Twitter thread from journalist Emmie Harrison-West. The thread highlighted several incidents of “everyday sexism” at GBBF, including being stared at, being touched on the waist, or being ignored at bars.

The statement from CAMRA went on to say: “While we hope that these instances are few and far between, we recognise that even one report is one too many when it comes to the standards that we must set ourselves.

“We are wholeheartedly committed to investigating any complaints made and are currently looking into what pre-event planning and on-site procedures allowed specific failures to happen.”

CAMRA asked for feedback that could aid the planning process for next year, via campaigns@camra.org.uk.

“We apologise to anyone who has been affected by this and know that the people most let down by this will be from the under-represented groups of people within the Campaign,” CAMRA said. “We hope to learn from the experience and bring you an improved festival in 2023.”

Harrison-West called the CAMRA statement “really, really promising” and encouraged people to provide feedback.

"Women and other underrepresented communities experience microaggressions and cases of sexism, like unsolicited touching and catcalls, every single day - it's not just limited to beer festivals," she added. "Women have been fighting for equality for years in the beer industry, but in order to eradicate sexism, everyone needs to sit up and listen. We all need to be part of the fight. 

"I'm really grateful that CAMRA and festival organisers have responded positively to my thread detailing the sexism I experienced at the Great British Beer Festival. It shows that they're willing to be educated, and push for change - like we should all be doing. 

'I look forward to working with CAMRA more in the future about how to make their festivals safer spaces for women, and I'd implore anyone with advice, or incidents from the festival that they'd like to report, to get in touch."

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