Hooters facing 'boob cake' probe
BRISTOL restaurant Hooters is facing an inquiry after a 3D 'boob cake' was allegedly served at a 12-year-old's birthday party.
It is believed to have happened the day after the Harbourside venue held a controversial bikini contest.
The cake's centrepiece represented naked breasts with nipples. It was iced with the words Happy 12th Birthday.
Campaigners say the incident last month is contrary to Hooters' claim to be "family friendly" and may breach the terms of the restaurant's licence. Bristol City Council is carrying out a formal investigation to see if licence conditions were breached.
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At the moment it is not clear if the cake was provided by the restaurant or the boy's family.
The branch of the American sports bar chain opened last October in a former Marks and Spencer store.
Hooters is staffed by waitresses skimpily clad in a uniform of hot pants and tight tops. According to campaigners it has promoted itself as a "food-led" fun venue, with entertainment including televised sports events and "wholesome cheerleader routines" performed by the staff in celebration of occasions such as birthdays.
Women's rights groups, who objected to the launch of the venue in Millennium Square, have started a fresh campaign to have its licence revoked.
Their online petition, which criticises the "pornographic" cake, has attracted more than 800 signatures in three days. This includes celebrity support from Jonathan Ross and David Mitchell, who backed the campaign after being alerted to it via the social media site Twitter.
Jonathan Ross said: "When I was young and stupid I'd probably have thought it was fun. Glad I've grown up!"
The petition includes an open letter to councillors, MPs and the Bristol Safeguarding Children's Board.
It contains strong opinion: "Any premises licence holder must demonstrate that they are fulfilling the licence objective to protect children from moral, psychological and physical harm. Hooters, while claiming to be 'family friendly' is exposing children to sexual entertainment – and not protecting them from harm."
The petition also objects to a swimsuit parade, which it says began at 7pm on the day before the children's party, two hours before children are excluded from the restaurant.
"We object to the brand and practices of this establishment, which normalise the sexual objectification of women, endanger the wellbeing of children, and damage the reputation of Bristol," it says.
Council spokeswoman Vicki O'Loughlin said: "Following concerns raised by some Bristol residents, Bristol City Council licensing staff are carrying out a formal investigation to establish whether any licence conditions have been breached. At the conclusion of that investigation, which will take about three to four weeks we will consider the evidence that has been obtained and decide whether action can be taken against the licence holder."
Bil McTaggart, spokesman for Gallus Management, which runs Hooters, was unavailable for comment.