Sweden’s Discrimination Ombudsman ruled that a Swedish music festival that took place in Gothenburg, Sweden, earlier this year was discriminatory based on their “man-free” mantra.
The Statement Festival was decided to have caused “an infringement of discrimination law,” according to The Local Sweden.
The event, whose target audience was women and the LGBTQ community, was organized because of reports of assaults that had taken place at other Swedish music festivals.
“No differentiation based on sex was made between visitors at entry,” the ruling said, according to The Local.
However, according to the DO’s ruling, “public statements which clearly discourage” a certain group, namely men, from attending can be considered discriminatory.
The Daily Mail reported that DO’s press officer Clas Lundstend said in a statement, “It is important to point out what an infringement is. These are the statements made before the festival, what they wrote on their website.
“Still, we haven’t been able to prove that someone would have been discriminated against in connection with the implementation or that someone would have been rejected.”
The DO ultimately decided that the festival violated Swedish law, which prohibits gender-based discrimination.
The Statement Festival was launched by Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare in hopes of attracting those put off by other festivals.
When questioned about the “man-free” aspect of the event, the organizers confirmed that not all men would be unwelcome — they would invite transgender men and the non-binary as well.
“It felt important when so many people wanted it,” Knyckare told The Local during the early stages of planning.
“All men are not rapists, but almost all rapes are carried out by men. We want to create a free space, a cool festival where women can be without feeling worried. A festival is not the solution, but a reaction to the problem. The goal with the festival is that there shouldn’t need to be separatist events.”
In response to the DO’s ruling, Statement Festival said on its Facebook page that it was unfazed and was “busy changing the world.”
“It’s sad that what 5,000 women, non-binaries and transgender experienced as a life-changing festival, made a few cis-men lose it completely,” a translation of the post said.
“The success of the Statement festival shows that is exactly what we need, and the DO’s verdict doesn’t change this fact. Otherwise, we have no comments. We are busy changing the world.”
The DO said in its ruling that the decision isn’t “calling into question the serious problem of sexual assault,” The Local reported.
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