Residents complain after 'inappropriate' costume worn at children's event

Redbridge Libraries has apologised after an animal costume featuring genitalia was worn at a children's reading event.

Redbridge Libraries has apologised after an animal costume featuring genitalia was worn at a children's reading event. - Credit: Has Ahmed

A number of complaints were made by residents after a costume featuring genitalia was worn at an event to promote children's reading.

On Saturday - July 10 - the "inappropriate" animal costume was worn during the event at Redbridge Central Library.

After receiving the complaints, Redbridge Libraries confirmed the performance was stopped.

Obscene animal costume at library event

The event was stopped after complaints were received. - Credit: Has Ahmed

The Recorder was first contacted about the issue by resident Has Ahmed, who also ran as the Conservative candidate in the recent Loxford by-election.

Has sent a tweet, mentioning the council and its leader Jas Athwal, in which he asked for the reasoning behind the costumes for the family event.

Cllr Athwal replied by saying he took "immediate action" and contacted Vision RCL, which runs the library, about it.

The council tweeted on Saturday: "Vision have apologised to residents for an event earlier today that included an inappropriate costume.

"The council leader and deputy have expressed their strong condemnation to Vision for this costume and the offence it has caused."

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Redbridge Libraries posted a statement to its Twitter page on Saturday night which was re-tweeted by the council.

The statement read: "During an event put on at the library today there was a performance by a carnival arts company.

"Unfortunately one of the animal costumes was inappropriate which we were not aware of at the time of booking.

"Upon receiving complaints passed on by the leader and deputy leader, we ceased the performance and are truly apologetic for the distress caused to residents. This will never happen again."

The leader of the Redbridge Conservative Group, Cllr Linda Huggett, believes the incident made the council "look ridiculous".

In an email to Cllr Athwal, she wrote: "This library event was designed to promote reading to our borough’s children and instead caused an enormous amount of distress to residents and was excruciatingly embarrassing for Redbridge’s reputation.

Indecent images in Redbridge Library

The incident was described as "excruciatingly embarrassing for Redbridge’s reputation" by Redbridge Conservative Group leader Linda Huggett. - Credit: Has Ahmed

"I am sure that all councillors would like a full explanation and breakdown of the commissioning process which allowed this event to go ahead without any proper monitoring controls being in place first."

The council has since published the following statement to its website.

A spokesperson said: “We are utterly appalled by the unacceptable event at Redbridge Libraries on Saturday organised by our independent leisure contractor, Vision.

"The contractor had commissioned characters to support the start of the Summer Reading Challenge, but the costume in question was wholly inappropriate for the intended audience.

"Council Leader, Cllr Jas Athwal, took immediate action as soon as he became aware of what had happened, instructing Vision to end the event.

"A full and thorough investigation into how this incident happened has been launched and stringent action will be taken.

"We sincerely apologise for the offence and distress this has caused.”