Friday, 29 July 2011

UK Uncut ambush launch of Vodafone-sponsored Tate Debate on Spoonfed - Things to do in London

UK Uncut ambush launch of Vodafone-sponsored Tate Debate

29 July, 2011
by: Spoonfed Arts Team

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Tate's latest corporate tie-in hit by UK Uncut protesters.

Tate Modern

As predicted on Spoonfed at the start of the week, yesterday saw the launch of the new corporate partnership between Tate and Vodafone severely undermined by political action group UK Uncut.

The tie-in between London's most famous art institution and everyone's favourite phone provider was supposed to commence with an online discussion about apps for museums and other cultural institutions. But after a call to action on the UK Uncut website and Facebook page, Tate Debate quickly became inundated with comments regarding Vodafone's alleged non-payment of a £6billion tax bill.

Very quickly, the voice of the blog's manager, Kirstie Beaven, was drowned out by unwanted comments as her pleas for people to “keep posts on topic” proved in vain. Eventually the communications team began deleting comments that referred to Vodafone, which led to such observations as “We can post them quicker than you can delete them Kirstie” and a game of cat and mouse as UK Uncut commenters began their posts by ostensibly talking about apps before going on to criticise Vodafone and Tate.

By about 4.30pm Tate introduced a moderating system to veto “off-topic" comments, although none of the offending posts were really in contradiction with Tate's own commenting guidelines. At the time of writing, some criticism still remains, but most has been erased.

This sabotage is the latest action from UK Uncut, who have already staged sit-ins at Vodafone stores in protest against the company's alleged non-payment of a £6 billion tax bill, and being let off by Dave Hartnett, the big boss man at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, despite, according to Private Eye, advice to the contrary from HMRC's own lawyers.

It's also the lastest protest against Tate, who have been extensively criticised by a range of groups for their ongoing relationship with oil giants BP.

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