Since launching our Cheeky Waffles campaign, the company along with its customers have come to our pages to defend the porn themed restaurant which sells replica, ejaculating penises while apparently also welcoming kids into its venues.
We've responded below.
Playboy is a global porn empire with a 70 year history of profiting from the objectification and abuse of women and girls. Founded by an alleged rapist, to this day, Playboy trades on the objectification of women and continues to sexualise kids.
We object to attempts to glamorise, sanitise and promote this long time corporate sexploitation offender. That includes shoutouts from Cheeky Waffles, which has coopted the Playboy name for one of its edible replica penis menu items.
OnlyFans trafficking and exploitation
OnlyFans, a subscription-based social media platform that allows people to sell pornographic content of themselves, has become known for human trafficking, child sexual exploitation, and coercion, image based abuse, doxxing and stalking of women content creators.
We object to attempts to legitimise OnlyFans - a corporate sexploitation offender - as an 'ordinary' business or to normalise its activities which harm women and girls. The reality is, OnlyFans puts women at risk and leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. Cheeky Waffles' shoutout to 'OnlyFans' in its menu shows how out of touch (or uncaring) it is with this reality.
"Kids hear explicit music in public venues all the time anyway"
Just because something is happening does not mean it's ok. One company's failure to safeguard children is not a justification for others to do the same. Responsible business owners make sure that their business activities do not contribute to the sexualisation of minors.
Harms from exposure to sexualised content
There is a “growing body of evidence” of the harms to children from exposure to adult sexual content. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists noted that premature exposure to adult sexual images and values has a negative impact on the psychological development of children, in terms of self-esteem, body image and understanding of sexuality and relationships.
"The area is near nightclubs and families don't go there"
We reject this claim. Our own campaigners are familiar with the precinct where the Perth store will be located and have often visited it with children in tow.
There will always be families who are unfamiliar with an area where a Cheeky Waffles store is situated. They don't get to simply choose to not "go there".
Besides, Cheeky Waffles apparently trades as an all-ages venue, with no signage indicating that it requires proof of age for entry. According to Equal Opportunities Commission Cheeky Waffles would have to have a 'special exemption' to not employ staff under the age of 18.
"It's all about sexual inclusivity, body positivity and normalising shapes"
Pumping identically sized and shaped replica penises and vulvas out of customised, industrial waffle irons is not going to normalise differences in real human genitals.
We do know though that pornography shapes men's expectations that women's genitals will look certain way, and that this has seen requests for labiaplasty skyrocket among young women in recent years. These facts are apparently lost on Cheeky Waffles.
And we haven't even begun to unpack the racial elements on Cheeky Waffles menu with their dark chocolate King Kong dick waffle.
We've been in this game long enough to know it's actually all about profit.
"It's harmless fun. If adults want to go there it's not hurting anyone"
The harms of porn culture do not exist in a vacuum. By supporting Cheeky Waffles - a company which trades on sexploitation - customers are effectively endorsing activities which harm women (and children) and make life harder for all of us.
We hold serious concerns for young women working at Cheeky Waffles. We know that their risk of sexual harassment is heightened due to the sexualised and porn inspired nature of its products and promos. Are these women empowered to speak out against sexual harassment? Or are they expected to tolerate it as 'part of the job'?
"Don't like it? Don't go there"
The sexualisation and grooming of children, and the wider harms of porn culture infiltrating everyday businesses (operating on high street - no less), do not exist in a vacuum. Their impacts are felt by the wider community, whether or not we choose to support the companies participating. We can choose to not patronise Cheeky Waffles. That won't cancel out Cheeky Waffles activities which help shape a pornified world which we (and our children) have to live in.
"Kids will only see the products if they go inside"
Cheeky Waffles' eye catching, neon pink, porn themed signage is highly visible from the street through its transparent glass windows. It has no measures to protect children from being exposed to its porn themed products and promos.
"They are not open during the day"
Cheeky Waffles Gold Coast store opens at 11am. Brisbane opens at 5pm - a popular meal time for families. Cheeky Waffles' operating times do not mean children will be protected from its porn themed products and promos.
"You're just being a prude" (..clutching pearls, etc)
It is the same thing we have heard over and over from men defending pornography. For the gazillionth time, sexual exploitation, sexualisation, pornography, violence and abuse are not the same as sex. We are unmoved by these attempts to gaslight us into silence and inaction.
Adults pass buck on child safeguarding
We lodged enquiries with the Equal Opportunities Commission (WA), City of Perth, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Department of Commerce (WA).
City of Perth advised that once the store is opened, concerned community members can contact the police, and lodge complaints about window signage with Ad Standards.
We also contacted the Commissioner for Children and Young People (WA) and are waiting for a response.