There have been some very bad decisions in the history of public relations, but this may be the proverbial headliner. At Coachella this year, a see-and-be-seen pseudo-bohemian music festival in California for
cool rich kids, a few of the lucky and tragically hip will have the option to be "sequestered" to attend a Guantánamo Bay, "playful torture"-themed party.
Refinery29 flagged this email invitation from Flaunt Magazine, featuring a topless model clutching a rifle above her head in aviators and short leather shorts. The email reads:
Flaunt Magazine and Le Baron will be sequestering select Coachella attendees for "New Guantanamo", a unique and painfully pleasurable pop up experience with True Religion. The watering hole, the first building ever built in Coachella, CA, will feature playful torture by Smashbox Studios with beats poured by French music and fashion label Kitsuné. This one will go until dawn.
Well, that sounds fun. Coachella attendees: Be on the lookout for an invite to the drone strike-themed after-party. This one will drone on and on and on.
UPDATE: Smashbox Studios has released the following statement to Salon:
Update 1: Smashbox Studios agreed to sponsor the pop up photo session portion of Flaunt's Coachella event not knowing there was a theme beyond it being a "feel good after party" to the music festival. We saw the invitation for the first time this morning, when it was thankfully brought to our attention by our concerned clients. In no way do we condone the artwork or title and have spoken with the magazine who have agreed to a name and artwork change. The theme is now: NIGHTSHIFT. The event has no affiliation with the Coachella Music Festival.
Update 2: Smashbox Studios will no longer act as a sponsor to Flaunt’s Coachella after party. We were not informed of the inappropriate theme prior to the release of the invitation today. We feel strongly that even with a new event title, the feel good atmosphere of the party has been tainted.
Update 3: True Religion jeans has also backed out of the event, releasing the following statement to Salon: "True Religion Brand Jeans was not consulted about the theme of Flaunt Magazine’s April 12th Coachella after party. When we learned of the theme on April 8th, we notified Flaunt Magazine that we will not participate in this event."