A fashion magazine that had planned to host a Guantanamo-themed party during the upcoming Coachella festival in Indio, Calif., has removed references to the U.S. military prison after losing at least one sponsor.
Flaunt Magazine's invites to Friday's “New Guantanamo” party, originally posted by Refinery29, had featured scantily clad, seminude blindfolded women wielding assault rifles and promising “pleasurable torture” at the late-night event.
“We were never informed of the theme and most certainly never agreed to provide ‘pleasurable torture’ as the copy stated,” Dee deLara, a vice president at Smashbox, wrote in an email to the Miami Herald. “We feel strongly that even with a new event title, the feel good atmosphere of the party has been tainted."
“Flaunt Magazine never intended to cause offense or harm,” Flaunt editorial director Matthew Bedard said in a statement. "The imaging, as well as the usage of the word 'New' in front of Guantánamo, and the language in accompaniment, were in fact intended to invoke a contradictory spirit of love and carefree fun.
"Guantánamo has been controversial from its inception," Bedard continued. "And that an unresolved human rights issue is again fetching headlines is, in our opinion, true to our aims as a publication and not to be interpreted in black and white terms. Still, we value and respect the concerns of the public, and have subsequently revoked the word 'Guantánamo,' and any references to it from our promotional materials."
The event, he added, will go on "and those in attendance will likely have a spirited and lovely time."
The magazine subsequently reissued the invites with the references to Guantanamo blacked out.
As is the case with other large, multiday music festivals, magazines often host after-parties at Coachella, which drew 650,000 people over two weekends last year.