The Beastie Boys – take two…

What would brucie do..?

Different people can see things, like specific words – in different ways…

(Editors note: Seem to remember the papers going nuts about the BBoys in a similar, though somewhat more richly deserved scandal in the late 80’s..?)

The wording of the advert

This thread highlights a facebook message we got sent, after we posted an advert for staff up on our site. A section of our advert read…

‘Fancy a part time job…? We’re looking to boost our current crack team of shaved, talking chimpanzees for the Autumn season.

So if you think you would like to work as part of WHQ get in touch. You’ll need to be able to function well in a team environment & have common sense.

You also can’t be a stupid fool, a political or musical retard & you must understand what the word – working – actually means…’

We thought that was fine to say & then this lady took the time to get in touch with us…


The issue

Original Message – From: Lena – To: WHQ : Subject : Retard

Hi, I was just looking at your job application web page, and was disappointed to see the word ‘retard’ be used.

As an autistic woman and as someone with family members with special needs, this was a big shock to me as I really enjoy going to your club and having such ableist and discriminatory language on your official website seems a rather backwards thing to have, especially considering how progressive and tolerant the business promotes itself as being.

Hopefully this issue can be resolved in some way, as I’d hate for other people with disabilities to be put off working for the club if such language is promoted as commonplace or even encouraged. Thank you. Lena



Original Message – From: WHQ  – To: Lena : Subject : Re: Retard

Wow! Really..? that’s not how we expressed that at all…

“Political or musical’ is the context in which we use the word.

Did you read that Lena?

Not physical or mental or anything like that. As if we would intend that?

We’re really surprised at what you appear to be projecting on us. We really are. Maybe you don’t know us that well?

You really have got the wrong end of the stick & to interpret the context of what we said in our advert to make it seem like a nasty thing, or hate crime or something is, well honestly, bizarre..?


We mean no offence to anyone & if we really are missing something… then please do educate us.

We are the Club that has hosted regular, monthly evenings for friends of ours who have a variety of differing needs, for many, many years…

(Editor’s note: That link was not sent with the original e mail & has been added here simply for contextual purposes)

Your criticism is truly misdirected, but if you really still feel as you said you do now, then as we said, please let us know.

We will be astounded if you can convince us that what we said in our employment advertisement presents in that context.

Thank you for contacting us either way though. We are not above mistakes in our word choice or grammar. As you can see from our site, we write a lot & if your input can improve that, we are all ears….

As it seems we may have offended you, we’d also like to say sorry to you. We never want to make anyone feel bad. We are in the business of equality & happy xx


Enter the dictionary…

Original Message – From: Lena – To: WHQ : Subject : Re: Retard

“A person with a mental disability (often used as an insult)”.

(Editor’s note: this is the second listed definition, the first being as a noun – ‘To delay or hold back in terms of progress or development’).

The political and musical prefix is irrelevant, the word is still being used to describe derogative traits of people you don’t want to hire?

I’m not projecting anything.

The situation would be much easier if you removed the word. I’ve talked to a few people now to find out if I overreacted and they were also surprised to see such a word on there. Lena


Enter the Dragon…

Original Message – From: WHQ  – To: Lena: Subject : Re: Retard

Thanks again, for bringing that use of the word our attention Lena.

Obviously we used it in the context of…

‘Delay or hold back in terms of progress or development…’

… with reference to their politics & musical tastes & to suggest otherwise does project incorrectly onto what we intended, which certainly was never to offend anyone.

But it’s just a word & there are a load of other words we can use in it’s place, in the exact same context.

We’ve actually already changed it, if you look you’ll see that…

(Editor’s note: It now read – ‘You also can’t be a stupid fool, a political or musical numpty & must be able to grasp & duplicate what the word working actually means’)

… & we never said you overreacted, in the context in which you took it it’s a bit like racism – in the eye of the beholder & we get that.

Thanks again for taking the time to get in touch. We live & learn… x

Original Message – From: Lena– To: WHQ : Subject : Re: Retard

Thank you, I’m glad it could be sorted

Original Message – From: WHQ  – To: Lena : Subject : Re: Retard

No problem at all. It was only sorted via your input, so thank you for moving us forward x.

The old skool students of Bruce…

Try as we might, we can’t get everything correct first time. The important thing is to have good intentions, listen to people, accept & learn from differing points of view & move with the times…

& The lives we all live

Which we always will & may well be the reason WHQ is still here, after all these years… x.