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Amsterdam Club De School Hosts Podcast To Address Criticism
Christian Eede , July 16th, 2020 12:48

The venue, which opened in early 2016, has been under fire recently due to a lack of accountability for criticism which includes accusations of racism

De School, one of Amsterdam's leading clubs, has hosted a live podcast at the venue as a means of addressing a range of criticism that the institution has recently drawn on social media.

Amongst the areas of criticism that the venue's owner Jochem, programmer Luc and HR manager Lon sought to address involved accusations of long-standing racism across several areas of the club. These accusations include racial profiling by security, the presence of an all-white office and leadership, and a lack of diversity across the club's resident DJs base. Criticisms were put to the club's representatives by a moderator from submissions presented to her in advance of the event, as well as by a small audience in the room.

Another criticism raised during the podcast recording, which happened on Tuesday (July 14), was that the club regularly failed to reach out to, and create an inclusive environment for, the diverse community of people that live in the neighbourhood around the club, despite receiving financial benefits from the local council.

Worst amongst the accusations raised during the podcast recording was that the club's security had allegedly suggested to some queer club-goers who were caught with drugs that they would be allowed into the club, and face no further action, if they exchanged sexual favours. Complaints like these about security were allegedly selectively addressed by leadership or ignored altogether.

Those who made these criticisms suggested that De School benefited from the image of being a 'safe space', but had not taken the necessary measures to ensure that this was the case. They said that they therefore felt unsafe or unwelcome at the club.

De School's representatives said that it would take some time to enact all of the necessary changes that were required. They did however commit to the implementation of a new complaints process, so that all future criticism would be addressed in a consistent and timely manner.

It was also stated that two women of colour would take up roles in the club's office. The roles that they would occupy were unclear. Co-owner Jochem Doornbusch said early on in the discussion that he would soon be taking a step back from the club's board, after the process of guiding the club into a new team and structure.

De School opened in January 2016 as a five-year project, and had been due to close early next year. It was announced some months ago that the venue would stay open for another year as a result of it being closed as a club since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only the venue's restaurant is currently open in accordance with local COVID-19 measures.

You can listen to the full podcast, which begins from the 31-minute mark, here.