Time Out issues apology over Bar Award finalists

11 February, 2019 by Andy Young

Time Out has issued an apology over the offence that was taken after the finalists in its Bartender of the Year award for both its Sydney and Melbourne Bar Awards were all male.

Paige Aubort, the 2015 Australian Liquor Industry Awards’ Bartender of the Year and Founder of the Coleman’s Academy led the social media outrage after the finalists for all the Time Out awards were revealed.

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“Time Out Sydney Bar Awards 2019 Bartender of the Year nominations have been released… 5 beautiful, hospitable and deserving men have been recognised for their hard work and not a single woman?” Aubort wrote, before listing a number of female bartenders – including recent winner of the Bacardi Legacy Australian finals, Jenna Hemsworth – who didn’t make the list.

“Shout out to all the women slogging it out in bars across Australia that aren’t being seen, recognised, given a platform. I SEE YOU.”

A further comment on Aubort’s post called attention to the lack of female representation in the same category in the Melbourne awards, with the Bartender of the Year nominees also comprising five male bartenders.

The nominees for Bartender of the Year in Sydney are Marcus Dullard (Continental Deli Bar Bistro CBD), James Fury (Jacoby’s), Andrea Gualdi (Maybe Sammy), Daniel Noble (Old Mate’s Place) and Evan Stroeve (Bulletin Place).

In Melbourne, Lewis Halls (Bad Frankie), Josh Hodges (Mr West), Hayden Lambert (Above Board), Darren Leaney (Capitano) and Matt Linklater (Black Pearl) are nominated.

After initially issuing a statement highlighting the selection criteria, Time Out has subsequently apologised for any offence taken.

In a post to a private Facebook group, which the publication has sent to TheShout, Time Out’s National Food & Drink Editor Emily Lloyd-Tait said: “Firstly, I’d like to say that me personally, and the team broadly, are genuinely sorry that people are unhappy with the list and we understand why. We followed the same processes that we do every year, the ones that saw Trish Brew take out the top gong last year in Melbourne, and this year that process resulted in an all-male list.”

She added: “Your concerns have been heard, and are taken seriously. Real change will happen as a result. This is a time of learning for us and hopefully can be a valuable leaping point for conversations within the broader industry.

“Equally, we are interested in meaningful change, not tokenism, and we wouldn’t insult someone by adding their name to a list after the fact. However, you can rest assured that this won’t happen again.”

Michael Rodrigues, Managing Director, Time Out Australia, has also issued a public apology, saying: “Time Out Australia recognises that this year’s nominees lists for Bartender of the Year in the Time Out Bar Awards do not reflect the diversity of the bartending scene in Sydney and Melbourne and therefore do not reflect the expectations of the community at large.

“While it was not the company’s intention to cause offence, we recognise that offence has been taken and we apologise.

“In future, we will introduce a selection process that strives to have a more representative result.”

Lloyd-Tait’s apology has been largely welcomed on social media and the full list of nominees for Sydney and Melbourne is on the Time Out website.