50 Best pledges equal gender split after Schumann controversy

11th October, 2019 by Owen Bellwood

The World’s 50 Best Bars will have a 50/50 gender split across its voting academy in 2020 following backlash it faced for naming Charles Schumann Industry Icon after he said “a bar is no place for a woman”.

The World’s 50 Best Bars will have an equal gender split in its 2020 voting academy

During last week’s 50 Best Bars ceremony in London, Schumann was given the Industry Icon award, but the move was widely criticised on social media by bartenders and bar owners because of comments made by Schumann about women working in the on-trade.

In an interview with German Playboy Magazine several years ago, Schumann was quoted saying: “A bar is no place for a woman. The important characters are always men,” comments he reinforced during a 2009 interview with The Japan Times, when he said: “I have the same opinion now.”

Following the backlash, Schumann said in a statement: “In light of the controversy surrounding my person and the awarding of The World´s 50 Best Bars – Industry Icon Award 2019, I am hereby returning the award. I don‘t want it anymore.”

In a statement released by 50 Best Bars on Tuesday (8 October), the awards body said it had accepted the return of the German bartender’s Industry Icon award and that there would be no recipient for the award this year.

However, the statement was criticised and branded “weak” by bartenders such as Speed Rack co-founder Ivy Mix.

Last night (10 October), The World’s 50 Best Bars released a second statement apologising “for the hurt caused” by naming Schumann its Industry Icon. The awarding body also pledged to take steps to improve inclusivity in its voting academy and across its awards.

50/50 gender split

In its statement, The World’s 50 Best Bars said: “50 Best would like to take the opportunity to say sorry for the hurt caused by our announcement of Charles Schumann as Industry Icon 2019. As an organisation, 50 Best absolutely condemns misogyny, marginalisation and sexism of any form.

“Since Mr Schumann’s comments were brought to our attention, we have been working hard behind the scenes to find the best way to proceed. We are reassessing every element of our voting structure and will be looking to create a forum that welcomes input from all areas of the bar community. Please do feel free to contact us directly with any thoughts or commentary.

“We would also like to announce that for The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020, we will have a voting academy with a 50/50 gender split, as we achieved with The World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year. Inclusivity is at the very core of 50 Best’s value system and in the future, we will work harder to ensure that our processes are fully representative of the industry that we very much consider ourselves a part of – and hold very close to our hearts.

“50 Best is in the process of responding to individual correspondence pertaining to the feedback from last week’s events. Please rest assured that if you have contacted any member of the team directly, we will be responding to you.”

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