The Ball's committee has since deleted the trailer from YouTube and its website.Hughes Hall May Ball

Hughes Hall has threatened to cancel its May Ball following concerns that the committee’s promotional trailer is overly sexualised.

The trailer, released on Friday, was designed to reflect the ball’s theme: ‘Forest of Sin’. It garnered over 1000 views before it was removed.

The video features a woman dressed in white entering a forest, where she is drawn into the activities of a masqueraded, masked group of students. The revellers are depicted kissing each other’s necks and pouring champagne down each other’s throats. At the end of the video, the woman bites into an apple as the group of circling students approaches from behind.

The college requested for the committee to remove the trailer as they felt it could reflect badly on the college. It has since been taken down from both the ball’s website and YouTube.

Speaking to Varsity, Joe Cook, the video’s producer, noted the college’s concern that the video “could be interpreted as promoting sexualised stereotypes”, but emphasised this was “evidently not the intention”.

He added: “If the College take issue with the video they should be promoting discussion about it, not censoring it and trying to cover it up”.

Following the committee’s compliance, the ball is still scheduled to take place on 16th June. Committee members will meet with the college on Monday for further discussion.


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Earlier this year, the committee made history when it announced it would offer a 20% ticket discount to students who received a Cambridge bursary.

On its Facebook page, organisers urged students to: “Abandon yourself to your guilty pleasures enjoying a range of sultry burlesque and pole dance performances. Luxuriate and spend away your student loan in our exclusive casino. Release your inner wrath in our dodgems ride or simply relax with a massage and hang out in our shisha den.

“Whatever you fancy, this is your night to pamper yourself and give into temptation…”

A spokesperson for Hughes Hall said: “The College has a duty of care to its students, including their online welfare, and had understandable concerns about the nature and content of the May Ball trailer.

“The student May Ball committee kindly agreed to remove the video from the May Ball website and social media until we are able to have a more detailed discussion with committee members on Monday.”

Update, 13:22 11/2/18: This article was updated to include comment from Hughes Hall.

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