An Adelaide hotel has been branded “derogatory” and “offensive” for its new choice of name.
The innocuously-titled Hampshire Hotel on Grote Street was recently relaunched as Hotel Longtime by Vietnamese-born owner Tin Chu and her husband Alex Fahey.
The venue boasts a ping pong club room dubbed the “gentleman’s lodge” and neon signs with phrases such as “long time good time”.
While the owners claim the name is not designed to reflect a stereotype of Asian women as prostitutes, critics have slammed it as derogatory.
The phrase “Love you longtime” was made famous by Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, which depicts the grim realities of war, including the sexual exploitation of local women by western soldiers in Vietnam.
Adelaide-born author Alice Whittington has created a petition calling for the name to be changed.
Writing in The Guardian, she said: “To perpetuate this is demeaning and sexualising, for Asian women in particular.
“It is a gateway stereotype that leads to graver long-term consequences, including harassment, abuse, discrimination and an assumption of sexual subservience.”
Owner Tin Chu said she was “surprised and disappointed that people are attributing to us motives which were never intended and which we absolutely do not believe”.
“It is worth remembering that I am a director of this licensee company and I am a proud Asian woman who has worked hard to build my business,” she said.
“There is nothing in our name which is in any way intended to insult or offend women. If anyone has felt that, then we humbly apologise – but again, it was never our intention.
“Any such association is in the mind of our critics, it was not in our minds.”
Her comments were made despite the display of an opening party poster exclaiming ‘The Madame is waiting’ and featuring the image of an older Asian woman.
The name has provoked a furious social media debate, with SourceSA and Hotel Longtime Facebook commentators describing it as “offensive”, “cultural exploitation”, “fetishising Asian women” and “casual racism”.
Facebook user Frank Merritt wrote, “Shocked at the name! How can you not see how offensive it is?” while Peter Parker wrote, “Hotel Longtime’s branding is relying/banking on a 40 year old stereotype … of Asians prostituting themselves to American soldiers.”
Others, however, have been supportive of the name and the couple’s efforts to create an appealing new business, describing detractors as “whingers” whose “minds are firmly in the gutter”.
The Change.org petition, titled ‘Get Hotel Longtime to change its derogatory name & remove prostitution references’, has attracted close to 1500 in a week.
Ms Whittington said: “How this ever was considered a good idea, or how it was approved in planning stages, is beyond me.
“This is not a personal witch-hunt, but rather an opportunity to educate and make positive social change.
“For the sake of respect for your fellow community members and those striving for equality, please sign this petition to ask the owners to change the name immediately, and retract any association of a ‘gentleman’s lodge’ to the ping pong element of the concept.”
The owners say they have no plans to change the name.