Restaurant refutes 'bathroom porn' claim

Published Monday, 20 August 2012
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The owner of a Belfast restaurant has hit back over a complaint about 'porn' having been used in the decor of the bathrooms, after receiving a letter written by a DUP MLA on behalf of a constituent.

Restaurant refutes 'bathroom porn' claim
Made In Belfast has defended the choice of decor in the restaurant bathrooms. (© Made In Belfast)

Made In Belfast, which has a branch near City Hall and one in the Cathedral Quarter, is known for its quirky interior design - but naked images in the bathrooms have now caused a stir.

The DUP's Robin Newton confirmed to UTV that he was contacted by a woman who "visited the restaurant and wasn't best pleased by what she saw" and that he wrote to the owner on her behalf.

But Emma Bricknell, who moved to Belfast from Kent seven years ago and started the Made In Belfast brand, insisted that the pictures were definitely different from pornography.

She explained that they feature men and women, celebrities and models, and that they were taken by top photographers for a wide range of art house magazines.

"They're not 'lad mag' pictures - the only person featured who might be perceived like that is Pamela Anderson, but she's covered up in her picture!" Emma told UTV.

"It's a beautiful collage - it's really cool."

We're not put on this earth to be disgusted by nudity.

Emma Brickwell, Made In Belfast

The restaurateur added that some of the bathrooms have been marked 'x-rated', but said that was more tongue-in-cheek and gave customers a choice if they weren't comfortable with the images.

"The images aren't like porn, they're not intended to arouse anyone. We're avant garde - we try to be different, to bring something European to Northern Ireland," she said.

Emma also told UTV that she thought the issue was particular to Northern Ireland and that the problem wasn't one that would have arisen in her native England or elsewhere in Europe.

She's disappointed to have had her achievements in growing her business and helping the local economy overlooked in favour of controversy over the pictures.

"It's pretty sad that this is what I've had to put up with," she said, pointing to famous nudes in museums or art galleries in defending her choice of decor.

But she's also putting the issue into perspective.

"We've have 40,000 people through the restaurant in two-and-a-half years. We keep track of comment cards for feedback and we've only had ten complaints," Emma said.

© UTV News
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35 Comments
Ray in Carrickfergus wrote (704 days ago):
The only thing that offended me at Made In Belfast was the poor service and disappointing food! The decor is in keeping with the theme. Some people on this corner of the UK/Ireland really need to grow up, and we as a people need to rise up against these self-righteous religious types that keep NI looking backwards!
Iain in Belfast wrote (704 days ago):
norman d complains about everything, off your soapbox mate and leave the rest of us to live our lives.
Christine in Boondocks wrote (704 days ago):
Norman, people with children are NOT the most important people in the world! If you don't like somewhere or want to take your children there, then just don't. I hate eating out being spoiled by badly behaved, noisy children anyway. I'm sure this establishment doesn't especially cater to your demographic anyway. Nudity is NOT always pornographic for goodness sake! People who feel that way should never go to art & sculpture exhibitions. Narrow minded fools.
martin /slainte50 in belfast wrote (704 days ago):
If Harry can romp around naked then surely a wee bit of skin in Belfast should be tolerated . Royal Balls have took on a completely different meaning today ...forward the nudists lol
lorna in belfast wrote (704 days ago):
hilarious...... really brightened up my night. People here obviously want to live in the dark oul days, you want to get out more!!!!!
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