UniLad Suspends Website Following Outrage Over 'Surprise' Rape Article

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UniLad article by Lorna Naylor on the website before it was pulled
UniLad article by Lorna Naylor on the website before it was pulled

UPDATE: UniLad CEO Jamie Street faces disciplinary action from his university.

An online magazine aimed at university students has suspended its activity following a backlash over the publication of a controversial and derogatory article about rape victims.

On Tuesday the National Union of Students (NUS) called for the website UniLad, which claims to be the "number one university student lad's magazine and guide to getting laid" to be pulled down over the article.

In an article titled "Sexual Mathematics" it stated: "If the girl you've taken for a drink... won't 'spread for your head', think about this mathematical statistic: 85% of rape cases go unreported.

"That seems to be fairly good odds."

The writer then adds at the bottom of the piece: "Uni Lad does not condone rape without saying 'surprise'."

The article sparked outrage on Twitter, including a comment from Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson, who said "Do the people at UniLad really think this infantile drivel passes for journalism?"

On Wednesday all content appeared to have been removed from the UniLad website and replaced with a statement apologising for the article.

"We would like to make a public apology as it appears that some of the content previously published on this site has caused some distress," it says.

"The content in question was un-called for and should in no way have been published, and we can assure you it will never happen again. Any grief this may have caused you, we apologise for. We took things too far.

"Any flippant comments that may have been said during discussions, I also apologise for, it will not happen again. We are certainly going to be cleaning up our act on unilad.com.

It added that the site will return "in a few weeks".

UniLad, a money-generating website that sells merchandise, has nearly 70,000 "likes" on Facebook and more than 2,000 followers on Twitter and claims to have an average daily visit count of 8,000.

Bookmakers William Hill, who previously had a banner advert on the site, told the Huffington Post UK that they "would not be returning" to the site following the controversy.

Previously one Twitter user, Sarah McAlpine (@sazza_jay) was asked if she was a "dyke" after questioning the magazine over the comments.

McAlpine replied: "Obviously you know you did wrong or you wouldn't have amended the article. You are not saving face by harrassing me."

UniLad then continued: "We know we did wrong and it has been removed. That wasn't harassment, it was a question.

McAlpine, a recent graduate from Kent University, said she found the site "almost laughable".

"It's a 101 for misogyny. It seems to be run by a group of infantile boys caught up in a relentless willy waving contest, measured by how horrible you are to women."

The website, which says it was founded by "Alex Partridge" does include one "top wench" Lorna Naylor - although she wrote articles such as the one pictured above, titled "The Problem With Slags".

She tweeted one writer for PR company esPResso saying: "nothing i have written has been controversial".

Another writer, Jack-William Cantwell, emailed Huffington Post UK claiming he had been "inactive with the company for around five months". He had described himself on Twitter as a writer for Uni Lad, although this has now been removed.

National Women's Officer for the NUS Estelle Hart has called for the entire website to be shut down for its "misogyny".

"Words cannot describe my anger at seeing this website. These pathetic attempts at humour feed into a view in society that women are to blame for the violence committed against them.

"The casual trivialisation of rape suggests it is something other than a despicable violent crime and whilst I'm reluctant to give this website the oxygen of publicity we cannot let them get away with such degrading attitudes towards women.

"Removing one vile comment from the site barely scratches the surface of its misogyny. The whole site should be taken down until they have radically over-hauled their editorial policy."

"Jake Gallagher", (@ChefJake_) is one of the more prolific writers on the site. His articles include "How to pull a fresher" which begins: "Fresher girls are especially vulnerable".

CORRECTION: We apologise for previously describing Street as "creator". We have now amended the description to "CEO".

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